Update from DA on Eagle Point shooting

Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston released the following information this afternoon in connection with the officer-involved shooting that occurred in Eagle Point in the late evening hours of April 30, 2010.

At 9:47 p.m. on April 30th, Eagle Point Police Department Acting Chief Jim Gray was dispatched to the address of 139 North Royal Avenue, Eagle Point for a report of a situation of a menacing with a handgun. The initial complainant, who was anonymous, also stated that a shot had been fired and the suspect was Adam Wehinger. This subject was later identified as Adam Eiman Wehinger, DOB: 08-13-75.

 

While enroute to the call, additional information was received by the Jackson County Sheriffs Office dispatch that Wehinger had fired a shot in the immediate presence of a neighbor.

 

On arrival at the scene, Acting Chief Gray contacted Adam Wehinger, who was at the front door of 139 North Royal Avenue, holding a handgun. Gray attempted to speak with Wehinger, but he went back into the apartment. Acting Chief Gray contacted the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and their SWAT team was activated to respond to the scene. During this time attempts were made to make contact with Adam Wehinger via his cellular phone, however he did not answer the phone.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office SWAT members, along with officers from the Oregon State Police, arrived at the scene and began to take up positions around the apartment. At 10:37 p.m., officers positioned around 139 Royal Avenue reported hearing gunshots being fired inside the residence. As additional Jackson County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team members were responding to the scene, Wehinger came to the front door of the residence.

At 11 :03 p.m., Adam Wehinger opened the front door to the residence holding a handgun. Wehinger came out of the apartment onto the front porch and pointed the handgun at deputies and officers that were in view. He had earlier made statements to the effect that he wanted officers to kill him. Detective Jim Biddle of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Trooper Tyler Lee of the Oregon State Police fired at Wehinger, who died as a result of gunshot wounds he received, Wehinger’s Colt New Frontier SAA .44 caliber handgun was recovered at the scene.

The scene was secured and the Jackson County Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit was activated to take over the investigation, pursuant to interagency protocols and the requirements of Senate Bill 111 (Oregon laws, 2007). The Interagency investigation is still underway at this time. Detective Justin Ivens of the Medford Police Department has been designated as lead detective. An autopsy was scheduled for today. Detective Biddle and Trooper Lee are giving formal statements to investigators this afternoon. A search warrant was drafted on May 1st which authorized a search of 139 Royal Avenue. Three bullet holes were found in an upstairs window screen of the residence. The window faces the parking lot where officers had taken up defensive positions. Although forensic testing has not yet been conducted, it appears that these holes represent shots that Wehinger fired from inside the residence.

Huddleston said that this case would be presented to a grand jury once the investigation has been completed. The interagency protocols adopted pursuant to SB 111 require that a grand jury make the final determination as to whether the officers’ use of force was justified under Oregon law. Huddleston said that it make take several weeks for the investigation to be completed, the reports written, and the matter scheduled for grand jury presentation.

Huddleston indicated that both involved officers have been placed on paid leave pending the results the investigation. He indicated that this is standard practice for officers involved in shooting situations which result in death or injury. Huddleston said that Detective Jim Biddle is 39 years old and has been with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office since 2001. Trooper Tyler Lee is 31 years old and has been with the Oregon State Police for five years. He is stationed at the Central Point Patrol Office.

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