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Police investigate officer-involved shooting at White City VA

White City VA (KTVL/Mike Marut)

[UPDATE: Friday]

The VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office released a statement Friday saying on Thursday, a 34-year-old male armed with a knife demanded admission into the facility.

Gilbert Matthew Negrete, 34, arrived at the clinic for an appointment and began causing a disturbance and pacing around the admissions building. The Sheriff's Office says contrary to prior statements, Negrete was not voicing frustration about health care or VA policies.

Reports say Negrete proceeded to confront an employee with a knife.

The VA statement says preliminary reports show that the man did not comply with verbal commands from a VA police officer. The police officer deployed multiple instances of pepper spray towards the man, which they say had no effect.

The Sheriff's Office says the officer fired one round and struck Negrete in the chest.

The individual was transported to Rogue Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Negrete will be lodged in the Jackson County jail on charges of unlawful use of a weapon, menacing, disorderly conduct, and violation of a restraining order.

JCSO deputies responded to a report of menacing at a towing business on Table Rock Road Wednesday where Negrete is the suspect in that case. An employee reported being threatened with a "butcher knife" by a man who wanted to retrieve his vehicle from the impound lot.

The VA says they are conducting an internal review and complying with local and federal law enforcement officials in their investigations.

All appointments at the VA SORCC for Friday have been canceled.

[ORIGINAL]

A Veteran Affairs Police Officer involved shooting at the VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics involving a veteran in White City.

The incident took place in Building 201 where an altercation happened between a "combative" man and VA Police officers that resulted in a shooting.

The subject who was shot was transported to Rogue Regional Medical Center with a gunshot wound. His injuries do not appear life-threatening.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is one of the agencies investigating the incident. They say the man was conscious, breathing and talking at the time he was transported.

As a safety precaution, nearby facilities were placed on lock-down until it was determined that the situation posed no threat to the public.

A resident of the VA says they witnessed what happened.

"I got to the hallway and I looked down, and I just hear 'he's got a knife, he's got a knife' and bam - the VA police shot him in the gut," the resident said. "The guy stumbled out and fell down."

The resident requested to remain anonymous. A friend of the resident said because of service at the White City VA, he's not surprised.

"It was bound to happen!" Joel Setzer, an outpatient from the VA, said. "You can only push a vet so far."

Setzer says when people walk into the facility, they get checked for weapons, so he is unsure how a knife got in. He ultimately questioned the security personnel's tactics in this situation as well.

"How big a knife could he have had?" Setzer said. "Why do they have live rounds when they know the PTSD issues that vets have? Do they really need live rounds on a veteran center like that?"

The VA has been in contact with the family of the subject. All appointments for today and tomorrow at the VA have been canceled.



Witnesses and VA residents tell News 10's Mike Marut that they heard "he's got a knife" then the suspect was shot.

Only one shot was fired.

The resident tells Marut that the subject was yelling "today was the day [he] was supposed to get healthcare."

Investigators have identified the name of the injured man, but have will not release his name or names of the officers involved until further notice.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call SORCC. Persons who have not provided a statement to detectives are asked to call the Jackson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 541-774-8333.

As of Thursdsay night, the VA says on-duty staff and campus residents are the only people being allowed in the VA.

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