Hermiston Police News: Update from Daniel Primus

Release Date: 

The Umatilla/Morrow Major Crime Team investigation of the officer involved shooting on December 31, 2012 concluded last Friday, January 3, 2013. The investigation included witness interviews and review of surveillance video from the Community Bank and Hermiston Liquor Store. Detectives learned the suspect entered the bank and proceeded to force his way behind the banking counter and forcibly remove cash from a till. The suspect then exited the bank, and went directly to the liquor store. Once inside the liquor store, the suspect stood at the cash register, near the front door and counter, and demanded a bottle of liquor from the store owner.

During this short time period, the Hermiston Police Department was responding to the scene of the bank robbery and had been informed the suspect was at the Hermiston Liquor Store. As a result, Sgt. Jeremy Scott Clark and Officer Doug Gill responded directly to the liquor store. Sgt. Clark and Ofc. Gill entered the liquor store, one with his duty weapon drawn, the other with a less lethal weapon drawn. As the officers approached and entered the liquor store through the glass front doors, suspect immediately identified them as law enforcement officers and pulled what witnesses believed to be a black semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the officers. Less lethal force was attempted to disarm the suspect, but to no avail. Officers then fired a total of five (5) shots at the suspect, with three (3) striking him. Less than eight seconds passed from the time officers entered the liquor store to the time shots were fired.

At the conclusion of the incident, the investigation revealed that, in fact, the weapon with which the suspect was armed was not a black semi-automatic handgun, as witnesses and officers believed, but a black BB handgun, of which a picture is attached to this press release.

After a thorough review of the investigation, District Attorney Daniel Primus presented testimony to the Umatilla County Grand Jury to consider whether the use of deadly force was justified. After a short deliberation, the Grand Jury concluded the use of deadly force by Sgt. Clark and Officer Gill was justified. This case is now closed.

Daniel Primus
Umatilla County District Attorney

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