Experts discuss Thursday's Officer Involved Shooting in Gold Hill
An officer-involved shooting took place Thursday in Gold Hill after an armed man, Tony Mills, who was allegedly suicidal, was shot and killed in the incident. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State police were both involved and the investigation is still underway by Medford Police.
Jackson County Chief Deputy District Attorney, Jeremy Markiewicz, said yesterdays incident will be presented to a grand jury once the investigations are finished.
“The incident occurred yesterday evening on July 18th. When that investigation is concluded because there was an officer-involved shooting, that will be presented to the grand jury.. [with] the facts of this case. It asks them to review this matter,” Markiewicz said.
He also mentioned that predicting when these situations can happen is something that can be difficult.
"Its sort of random there's no pattern there's no reason. In 2018 there were four officer-involved shootings. Of those four, three resulted in criminal cases against the individual involved in it. And the other one, the grand jury considered that case, and found that the officer was justified in the shooting where that person was found deceased," Markiewicz said.
In 2018, three of those shootings resulted in criminal cases according to Markiewicz.
On March 29, 2018, William Shelton was armed and injured in an officer-involved shooting in Medford on the 1000 block of Garfield Street.
He was found "guilty except insane," a Grand Jury ruled the police shooting justified. Police Agencies involved was the Medford Police.
Later the same year, on September 19, 2018, Matthew Graves was shot and killed while unarmed. Grand Jury ruled the shooting justified on October 24th, 2018, however Graves' family is pending a wrongful death civil case against the agency.
Criminal Justice Professor at Southern Oregon University and former officer Tiffany Moray said officers never want to resort to taking a human life.
“When you have someone that calls you to do that, even though you know there’s no other choice, it affects you, you’ve taken a life. It’s a hard thing to overcome and a lot of people can't get over that because you never know how you're truly going to handle that, to actually take a life. It’s a serious thing, but when we take the job on, we take it to protect the public and to be there and to keep the public safe," Moray said.
She also mentioned the oath which a police officer is to operate by, which is to protect and serve.
"If there’s a deadly threat and someone has a weapon we can't just say ‘Oh this is too scary we want to go home,’ we’ve taken the job we’ve signed on as an oath to say we’re going to protect,” Moray said.