The body of a former Portland police officer who faced charges for the 2011 shooting of a then 20-year-old man was found Monday morning beside railroad tracks in Washougal, Washington. The preliminary autopsy report indicated the officer’s death was the result of an apparent suicide.
The train crew stopped the train when they noticed the body near the tracks around 10:30 a.m., The Oregonian reported. Authorities believe the victim, former Portland Police Officer Dane Reister, was struck by a train earlier that morning, but there are conflicting reports whether his truck had been parked on or near the tracks or if he walked onto the tracks. The autopsy revealed Reister died from blunt force trauma, and no suicide note was found.
Both local authorities as well as the railway are investigating the incident.
Reister had been with the force for more than 17 years when he was terminated in 2013. Former Portland Police Chief Mike Reese cited Reister’s “unsatisfactory performance” as the reason for termination, referring to the 2011 shooting in which Reister inadvertently fired potentially lethal rounds, rather than beanbag rounds, at a subject while responding to multiple 911 calls about a man who was acting strangely near children in a park.
William Monroe was struck by the rounds fired by Reister from about 15 feet away. Monroe, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, suffered from a fractured pelvis and punctured bladder, abdomen and colon. The sciatic nerve in his left leg was also severed. Monroe survived, but according to his lawyer, he nearly bled to death and only made it because the hospital was so close to the scene of the shooting.
In April 2013, Monroe filed a federal lawsuit against the city, which asked for $11 million, and a settlement was reached at a record $2.3 million. The complaint also called for Reister’s termination, but was not granted as part of the settlement. Nonetheless, the department fired the officer six months later.
Additionally, Reister was indicted and faced charges for third and fourth-degree assault, as well as negligent wounding. He was the first Portland officer to face charges for the use of force while on duty, but pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was awaiting a ruling from the appellate court at the time of his death.