Car theft suspect shot dead by deputy

January 16, 2018 GMT

A man was fatally shot by a Lane County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop to investigate a report of a stolen car, and a second suspect sought by police has been “in contact with authorities,” sheriff’s officials said late Monday night.

Chief deputy Cliff Harrold of the sheriff’s office said the name of the dead man would not be released until next of kin have been notified. He also declined to release the name of the second suspect.

Harrold said during a press conference called for 10:30 p.m. that the incident began with a deputy investigating a report of a stolen white Honda Accord. He observed a vehicle matching the description and license plate in the 500 block of Clairmont Drive in Eugene’s Santa Clara neighborhood.

“As the deputy approached the vehicle, the male driver exited the car and was uncooperative with the deputy,” Harrold said. “The male driver, who was in possession of a firearm, was shot by the deputy and subsequently transported to the hospital for medical attention … he was later pronounced deceased.”

The call of “Shots fired; subject down” came over the police radio at 4:51 p.m.

A heavily armed and equipped police presence descended on the residential neighborhood after the shooting in pursuit of the second suspect.

Sgt. Carrie Carver said at the scene that a Lane County sheriff’s deputy responded to reports of a stolen vehicle near Clairmont Drive about 4:40 p.m.

No law enforcement officials were injured in the shooting, she said at the scene.

“Responding officers do everything they can to ensure the safety of the community while also trying to de-escalate the situation, but ultimately the safety of the neighbors comes into play whenever decisions like this are made,” Carver said.

She did not provide additional details about the incident on Clairmont.

Several people in a house near the shooting have been detained for questioning, Harrold said.

Law enforcement officials with the Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team have taken over the investigation because it involves a deputy’s use of deadly force. They are from Eugene police, Cottage Grove police, Oregon State Police, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Eugene Springfield Fire and the Santa Clara Fire Department.

Harrold declined to elaborate on how authorities have been in contact with the remaining suspect and when he might be brought in for questioning.

He said he didn’t know whether the deceased man and the suspect are residents of Lane County. He said “multiple people” were in the vicinity of the shooting and might have witnessed it.

For a time, the neighborhood resembled a war zone, with residents warned to stay inside their homes with doors locked while the search for the second suspect was in progress. Some officers were dressed in combat gear, including helmets.

Harrold said officers continued to remain in the neighborhood as of 10:30 p.m. but declined to elaborate. He did say, however, that there did not appear to be an ongoing threat to the neighborhood.