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Tyler Keinonen's grieving friend speaks out

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:05:27 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 28 2013 11:51:13 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns talked with a best friend of Tyler Keinonen, the troubled Bend man fatally shot by Bend police officer.

BEND, Ore. -

Justin Van Patton and Tyler Keinonen were best friends and co-workers.

"He's been my best friend for the past 12 years. We were all painters. He was one of the best painters I knew," Van Patton said Wednesday.

Van Patton is just one of many grieving friends and family trying to cope with the sudden loss after a tragic encounter at a northeast Bend home Friday night, in which a Bend police officer shot and killed Keinonen.

Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty told NewsChannel 21 Thursday he might be able to release more details about what transpired on Friday "but I will not receive reports before Monday at the earliest."

Van Patton says he remembers Keinonen as a caring man.

"He was all about helping people, figuring out how he could help. There's so many times they would take people in, help people out," Van Patton said.

He describes his friend as generous, but also a man who was working hard to fight addiction.

"He had so much going for him. He made mistakes here and there, and got in with the wrong people," the friend said.

Keinonen was arrested over the past few months for drugs and burglary.

Van Patton says he thought that was all changing.

"He was ready to really get his life back on track," Van Patton said. "He was working, he was steady. The last message I got from him was, 'I'm doing really good and not falling back into my old habits.'"

Staff at Serenity Lane, a drug and alcohol abuse treatment center, say sometimes it's hard for families to understand what someone with addiction is going through.

"People out there say, 'Well, why can't you just have one? Why can't you stop?' But the bottom line is, if they could stop, .they wouldn't have addiction," said Director Donald Ziegler.

Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty has released few details about the night of the shooting. He did share with us who else was there.

"There were other officers at that particular residence, but we don't believe they witnessed the shooting itself," Flaherty said Tuesday.

Details about whether Keinonen was armed or what exactly happened that night have yet to be released.

"We all make mistakes -- that's part of life, part of the journey. But that wasn't who he was," Van Patton said.

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