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DA Eastman Says Police Shooting that Killed GP Murder Suspect Last Month was Justified

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The Josephine County District Attorney has concluded that an officer-involved shooting that killed a murder suspect last month was justified by Oregon law.

District Attorney Josh Eastman announced this morning that he has concluded his review of the officer-involved shooting that occurred just after noon on December 15th near the intersection of Redwood Highway and Allen Creek Road.

Eastman said officers from all three local law enforcement agencies -- the Grants Pass Police Department, Josephine County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police -- were actively looking for Kelly Lynn Mason who was wanted on a nationwide warrant for Murder, Assault, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Robbery and Burglary stemming from a November 21st homicide on Rogue River Highway.

Officers from the local agencies had attended briefings to inform them about what vehicle Mason was driving, where he was most likely staying, that he was likely in possession of firearms, that he had said "goodbye" to a family member on day prior to the incident and had made statements about "shooting it out with police."

On December 15th, a deputy spotted the suspect vehicle heading toward Grants Pass on Redwood Highway. The deputy began following the vehicle but did not try to pull it over because he had been instructed to wait for additional units. A high risk traffic stop was attempted on Highway 199 near Dowell Road, but Mason accelerated and began weaving in and out of traffic using the shoulder. After a successful PIT maneuver brought the chase to a halt, the suspect started firing gunshots at law enforcement, hitting two Sheriff's Office patrol vehicles and causing minor injuries to a Corporal who was struck with glass and projectiles.

Because Mason was shooting at them, seven officers returned fire and eventually killed the suspect who was armed with an AR-15 style rifle and ammunition while wearing body armor.

Eastman concluded that all seven officers' use of deadly force was justified under ORS 161.242 and there was no "reasonable opportunity" to attempt any type of de-escalation. He thanked the Jackson County Sheriff's Office for their assistance and thorough investigation.
Posted on 1/23/24 10:44AM by Sam Marsh