Grand jury returns verdict on Waggoner case

The Jackson County grand jury
convened on Mar. 12 to consider charges against 42-year-old Daniel Edward
Waggoner. Waggoner was shot five times by Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Henderson when
he pointed a handgun at the deputy, according to information released by
District Attorney Mark Huddleston. Deputies responded to Waggoner’s home in the
1100 block of Dahlia Terrace, on the outskirts of Eagle Point, on Feb. 24. This
was in response to a call from Amy Brown, Waggoner’s fiancee, that he had
loaded firearms in the home, had fired one shot, and was threatening suicide.

The grand jury returned an
indictment against Waggoner charging him with attempted aggravated murder with
a firearm, attempted assault in the first degree with a firearm, two counts of
unlawful use of a weapon, pointing a firearm at another and interfering with a
peace officer. The attempted aggravated murder charge is a Measure 11 offense.
If convicted of that charge Waggoner would be subject to the mandatory minimum
sentence of 120 months in prison.

The grand jury was also asked
to consider whether Deputy Henderson’s conduct was justified as a lawful use of
force. Oregon law provides that a peace officer may use deadline physical force
against another person if the officer reasonably believes it to be necessary in
self-defense, or if the officer’s life or personal safety was endangered in the
particular circumstances.

In deciding this case, the
grand jury heard from 14 witnesses including Detective Deanna Harris of the
Oregon State Police, Deputy Henderson and six other officers who had responded
to the scene. Additional witnesses who testified were Detective Justin Ivens of
Medford Police, Criminalist John Amish of the OSP Crime Lab, neighbor Clement
Brunelle, Ruth McCall, who is the mother of one of Waggoner’s children, and Amy
brown.

The grand jury also heard
from OSP Detective Sgt. Jason Westfall, a police use of force trainer, assigned
to Klamath Falls. He detailed the training officers receive regarding the use
of deadly force.

The testimony presented to
the grand jury indicated that Waggoner had fired one shot prior to the arrival
of officers. Only Waggoner was in the home when the shot was fired and it was
not directed at a person. When the sheriff’s office responded, deputy Jennifer
Anderson attempted to enter into negotiations with Waggoner but was unable to
establish telephone contact with him. A sergeant with the JCSO was able to
reach Waggoner by phone, but as soon as Waggoner learned he was talking to a
deputy, he hung up.

A SWAT team was dispatched.
The vehicle was moved up the Waggoner’s driveway so officers could establish a
perimeter and zone of control. Waggoner fired one shot from the front porch
after the SWAT vehicle had stopped part way up the driveway. After firing the
shot, Waggoner went behind the home and encountered Deputy Henderson, who was
one of several officers who had taken up the perimeter to the rear of the
residence. Henderson was able to see that Waggoner was armed with a handgun and
ordered Waggoner to drop it. Waggoner did not do so, instead turned toward
Henderson, pointing his handgun at him. Henderson opened fire with his AR-15.
The deputy fire nine shots, five struck Waggoner.

An examination of Waggoner’s
firearm showed it was a 45 caliber semi-automatic, H&K brand, loaded with
live ammunition (one round in the firing chamber and seven in the magazine.)
The gun had the hammer cocked back in the firing position.

The grand jury deliberated
less than 15 minutes before returning the indictment against Daniel Edward
Waggoner and deciding that Deputy Henderson’s conduct in this case was fully
justified and in compliance with Oregon law.

Waggoner will be cited into court when his medical
condition improves to the point that he is able to make a court appearance.

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