Tuesday, February 14, 2012

News release on Astoria police shooting

This is the text of the official news release issued by the Clatsop County District Attorney's Office, Tuesday, January 14, 2012, about 4:00pm.

The multi-agency investigation into Sunday’s officer-involved shooting in Astoria is continuing. The following is an update on the investigation involving the Clatsop County Major Crime Team led by the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigations Division. Federal investigators and forensic investigation teams from Oregon State Police and FBI are assisting. 
The suspect is a Washougal, Washington area man. Although we believe we have finally conclusively identified him we are not releasing his name for security reasons at this time. We ask the media not to speculate or identify any particular hospital. Once charged his full name and date of birth will be released. For similar reasons, we are not releasing the name of the hospital treating him. His condition has been described as stable. He was shot twice. 
Astoria officers were first called by employees of the Lamplighter Motel at around noon on February 12. Officers found evidence that the occupant of the room had been manufacturing a silencer. Officers also seized military-type ammunition for an assault rifle. Astoria police contacted federal authorities because of possible federal law violations related to the found items. After leaving the motel Astoria police were notified by motel employees that the suspect had returned. Two police units with a total of three officers arrived back at the motel about 5:30 p.m. where they saw the suspect’s Chrysler van parked near the room. The rented van and a second motel room rented by the suspect were both under different names, neither of which matched what we believe now to be his true identity. 
Initial information indicated the suspect fired his weapon at officers during the incident. As the investigation unfolds, witnesses contacted by investigators at the hotel have confirmed that the suspect extended his arm and a handgun toward the officers from the threshold of his motel room. Forensic evidence indicates both officers fired at least once at the suspect. Physical evidence at this time has not conclusively established that the suspect shot at the officers.  The investigation will continue over the course of the next several days. 
Further interviews of the officers involved and further forensic testing will attempt to determine if the suspect fired his weapon. If the suspect did not fire his weapon the charges against him will likely not include attempted murder but will still include numerous felonies. 
Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis explained that there are currently no plans to present the issue of the officer’s use of deadly force to a grand jury.  However a grand jury will consider possible charges against the suspect.“The investigation and evidence thus far reflects the officers had good reason to perceive a heightened threat level when they returned to the motel. Under Oregon law, police officers are not required to wait to be shot at before they protect themselves or others, the same standard that applies to others” said Marquis. 
Pursuant to the officer shooting protocols in place, the investigation of the shooting is not being conducted by Astoria officers. 
A blood-soaked handgun was also recovered next to the suspect when he was arrested following the chase by officers from the scene. The high speed chase was reached speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. During the execution of a search warrant of the suspects hotel room, an assault rifle, the same caliber as the ammunition earlier seized, load bearing vests containing magazines for the rifle and other items were also seized. 
The Astoria Police Department Officers involved in this incident are not yet being identified. The officers have four and thirteen years of police experience. 
Both officers remain on administrative leave in accordance with the Clatsop County Officer Involved Shooting protocol, which does not indicate any judgment as to the appropriateness of their actions. 
The next release of information is likely to come within the next few days when the suspect is released from the hospital at which time he will likely be arrested, charged, and taken into police custody. 
The Clatsop County Major Crimes Team is comprised of investigative personnel from Clatsop County Sheriff's Office, Astoria Police Department, Warrenton Police Department, Cannon Beach Police Department, Seaside Police Department, District Attorneys Office and Oregon State Police. 
"We will continue to analyze all the evidence," Marquis said, thanking the Evidence Response Team of the Portland FBI, the several other federal agencies that helped, as well as the members of the Clatsop County Major Crime Team who continue the investigation under the leadership of a state police detective.

[Read the subsequent news release re arrest of police shooting suspect.]


  1. real criminals... maybe we don't have to eat our young any more.

  2. Thanks for the update, Josh.