Portland's police chief has been placed on administrative leave amid claims that he accidentally shot his friend, then lied about it, reports the Oregonian. When questioned by reporters on Friday, Larry O'Dea, a 29-year bureau veteran and police chief since January 2015, publicly admitted to shooting a 54-year-old man in the lower back during a hunting trip in Fields, 380 miles from Portland, on April 21. It isn't clear how the accident occurred, though O'Dea, 53, says he negligently discharged his rifle. However, Dave Ward of the Harney County Sheriff's Office, which investigated the incident, tells the Oregonian that O'Dea and other witnesses—several former police officers were among the hunting party—initially implied that his friend accidentally shot himself; O'Dea also didn't reveal that he was a police officer, Ward says.
A mayoral rep says O'Dea told Mayor Charlie Hales that he had shot his friend four days after the accident, but Ward says he only learned O'Dea was involved last week. During an interview, the victim, who was treated at a hospital and released, "made it pretty clear he didn't shoot himself. The victim knew who shot him." Hales has placed O'Dea on administrative leave "pending the outcome of several open internal and external investigations" from Oregon State Police, the Oregon DOJ, and Portland's Independent Police Review Division. The pair agree this "is in the best interest of the bureau and the city," Hales says, per the Washington Post. "We need our police bureau operating at its best, and our officers can't do that when there's turmoil and confusion surrounding their leader." (Read more Oregon stories.)