2 charged in connection with case where Eugene Police officer fired shots

The Lane County Jail is holding Eli Jacob Perini, 36, (at right) on charges of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle and DUII Controlled Substance; and Scott Wayne Saddler, 27, (left) on a parole violation. (Lane County Jail mugshots)

EUGENE, Ore. - The district attorney on Thursday formally charged two men taken into custody early Wednesday morning in an incident where police say an officer fired shots as a suspect stole a patrol car.

Prosecutors brought felony and misdemeanor charges against Eli Jacob Perini, 36, including Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest.

A second man, identified as Scott Wayne Saddler, 27, faces misdemeanor charges of Interfering with an Officer and Escape in the Third Degree.

The men were charged in connection with the Wednesday morning incident.

The situation started around 4 a.m. when an officer stopped two men on 15th Avenue near Pearl Alley.

"That stop didn't go so well," Police Chief Chris Skinner said. "Those people kind of sort of started to have physical confrontation with the officer, and one of the individuals ran from the officer."

While the officer chased after the suspect on foot, another officer arrived on the scene "to find the second person stealing the first officers patrol car," Skinner said. "There were shots fired at that point by the second officer."

Police located the stolen patrol car a short time later, unoccupied about a block and a half away.

A Springfield Police K9 was able to track down the suspect and he was taken into custody.

No one was injured.

Under Oregon law, the case is now the responsibility of the Lane County Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team to review.

"Any time an officer fires their weapon in the line of duty, we call out that multi-jurisdictional team to investigate this," Skinner said.

The final report is sent to the district attorney for review. It falls to the county's top prosecutor to determine if officers acted within the law when using deadly force, even when no one is injured.

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