CORVALLIS, Ore. - Two sheriff's deputies involved in a shootout with a suspect Aug. 11 were justified in using deadly force, the Benton County District Attorney said Monday.
The man they shot faces two counts of attempted murder and other charges.
Sgt. David Peterson remains hospitalized, recovering from gunshot wounds. Deputy Gregory Goller returned to duty following District Attorney John Haroldson's findings.
The two exchanged fire with Demecio Cardenas after a car chase. Cardenas allegedly disregarded instructions from officers and pointed a gun at them as they approached with a Taser.
Peterson and Salem Police Corporal Andrew Connolly got shot by Cardenas in the ensuing shootout. Peterson and Goller fired at Cardenas, who remains hospitalized in Portland.
"The justification for use of deadly force by Benton County Deputies Peterson and Goller is supported by eye witnesses, physical evidence, and Demecio Cardenas' statements," Haroldson said. "There is no disputable issue with regard to the use of force in this case."
Haroldson said his investigation revealed the following facts:
- Law enforcement got a 911 call reporting Cardenas (using various aliases) was wanted out of California, was trespassing with a firearm in the North Albany area, and driving a stolen vehicle. The 911 caller subsequently reported that Cardenas was brandishing his firearm and had stated he would never be arrested and placed in handcuffs again.
- The stolen vehicle was seen on Independence Highway in Benton County by a Benton County Sheriff's Deputy. Cardenas drove away from police at a high rate of speed until he drove his vehicle off the road and ran on foot to hide in the brush.
- Law enforcement officers established a perimeter in order to apprehend Cardenas, who remained hidden until officers were near his position. Officers deployed a Taser stun gun after Cardenas refused to comply with officer commands. Cardenas pointed his gun towards law enforcement officers and fired upon them. Deputy Peterson and Deputy Goller responded with deadly force.
Oregon State Police Detective Kyle Wilson arrested Cardenas, 32, on Monday on charges of:
- Attempted Aggravated Murder (2 counts)
- Assault in the First Degree
- Assault in the Third Degree
- Assaulting a Public Safety Officer (2 counts)
- Felon in Possession of a Firearm
- Unlawful Use of a Weapon
- Felony Attempt to Elude in a Vehicle
- Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle