A 71-year-old resident of Portland, Ore., was shot and killed by local police last Wednesday following a dispute over an attempt to disconnect his cable service, police said.
George Waldum, a retired lawyer who would have been 72 last Friday, was shot after police said he pulled a gun on officers investigating a report that he had threatened an AT & T Broadband technician for attempting to disconnect his cable service.
AT & T Broadband spokesman Kevin Mulligan said Waldum's account was three months in arrears. The company had followed its policy, he added-sending a 30-day notice, followed by a telephone call at 60 days and a final notice at 90 days that gave him another 10 days to pay his bill.
AT & T Broadband technician Ted Gornick, who had only been on the job two months, arrived at Waldum's home last Wednesday to disconnect the service and was ordered away by Waldum. When Gornick went around the house to perform the disconnect, Waldum appeared and again ordered him to leave or he would get his gun.
"Our guy played it by the book," Mulligan said. "He dropped what he was doing, got in his truck, drove two blocks away and called his dispatcher, who then called 911."
Two police cars were dispatched to the scene. While one officer took Gornick's statement, two other went to Waldum's door. Gornick, who had his back to the scene, said he heard a verbal confrontation followed by four shots.
A police spokesman told local newspaper The Oregonian that the officer who fired his weapon had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Multnomah County District Attorney.
Mulligan said neighbors had reported that Waldum's mental state deteriorated in recent years following the death of his wife.
"It's a tragedy," he said. "He had been a member of the local school board, a Little League coach and practiced family law. But when he lost his lifelong partner, his life began to spiral downward. When he began to suffer from these problems, there was no agency there to help."