Mother was on phone when Portland police shot Seattle man

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on March 10, 2013 at 10:53 PM

SEATTLE -- The mother of a Seattle man, who was shot and killed by Portland police last week, said Sunday that she was on the phone with her son throughout the entire shooting. 

Santiago Cisneros III, 32, approached two police officers at a parking garage Monday night and started shooting at them, Portland police said.  Officers returned fire and hit Cisneros, who later died at the hospital.

"I heard everything until the time he was killed," said Antoinette Cisneros, Santiago's mother. 

Santiago Cisneros lived in Seattle but was visiting family in Portland last week. 

His mother called him late Monday night but could not tell where he was at the time. 

"He said, 'They're forcing me to go higher,'" Antoinette Cisneros recalled.  "I said, 'Hago, who's forcing you?' He says, 'They're forcing me to go higher.'"

She later learned that her son was driving up a Portland parking garage, although she still does not know who he was referring to when he said someone was forcing him to go higher. 

Moments later, Antoinette Cisneros said her son spoke his final words to her before stepping out of his car.

"He said, 'Forgive me, mom.  Mom, I love you.  I love you, mom.'  And I said, 'Mijo, don't leave, don't go away. I hear you going away from the car,'" Antoinette Cisneros said.

Soon she heard gunfire, followed by another man's voice.

"He said 'stop,'" she recalled.  "And then I heard him again say 'stop.'"

What Antoinette did not know at the time was that her son was engaging with two police officers.  

"I didn't hear, 'This is the police, please put your arm down, hit the ground,'" she said.  

Portland Police said the entire incident unfolded very quickly after Santago Cisneros approached the two officers. 

"Within seconds they're confronted by this guy with a shotgun and shots were fired," police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said last week.  "The officers returned fire and knocked him to the ground."

Cisneros later died at the hospital.

As an Iraq war veteran, Cisneros admittedly suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  But his mother wants people to hold their judgment until an investigation is done.

For starters, she said that she knows what her son's shotgun sounds like and she did not hear that sound over the phone Monday night. 

She also said that her son was a good marksman.  "If he aimed at something, he would not have missed."

Antoinette Cisneros has not yet spoken with investigators to share what she heard on the phone that night.  She hopes to speak with them soon.

"What I would like to see is that my son did not die in vain because of his experiences in the war," she said. 

The two officers involved in Monday's shooting are on paid administrative leave until the completion of a grand jury inquiry. 

The Department of Justice found last September that the Portland Police Bureau "engaged in an unconstitutional pattern or practice of excessive force against people with mental illness," according to a news release.

The city and DOJ reached an agreement to address concern's raised by the federal government's investigation. 

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