CEDAR FLAT, Ore. (KMTR) – New details have emerged in a deputy-involved shooting east of Springfield. The incident is another example of how Lane County Sheriff patrols have been stretched to their limit.
The shooting happened on Cedar Flat Road, east of Springfield around 10 p.m. on Monday, April 2, 2012. The Lane County Sheriff's Office reports one woman was shot at least one time and taken to the hospital for treatment.
Deputies say one deputy shot an adult woman in the driveway of a home at the end of the road on the 87000 block of Cedar Flat Road. The woman was taken to a local hospital shortly after and is expected to recover from her injuries. No one else was hurt in the shooting.
Deputies say the woman who was shot was armed with a gun. Initially, the call came in to LCSO as a report of a physical dispute between adult family members.
Tuesday afternoon, Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner and Captain Byron Trap held a press conference with more information on the shooting. The names or ages of the suspect shot or the deputies involved had not been released as of Tuesday.
According to Trapp and Turner, two deputies responded to the call around 10:04 p.m. When they arrived, they found a woman who was armed. Deputies first used a taser on the woman to try to subdue her, but it did not work. The woman then displayed a gun and a deputy fired his service pistol at the woman. LCSO has not released information on how many shots were fired.
The two deputies who responded to the incident were placed on administrative leave following the incident; they will be on leave for at least five days. According to Turner, one of the deputies involved has had prior experience in a case where deadly force was used.
The Lane County Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team (IDFIT) is now investigating the incident.
As for how deputies and other law enforcement officers responded to the incident, Sheriff Turner expressed concern about the situation and gratitude on Tuesday afternoon.
Immediately following the shooting, the two responding deputies encountered two “hostile” adult males. One of the men was eventually arrested for interfering with police activity.
Sheriff Turner says several other people were on the pitch black, multi-acre property when the shooting happened. Some were inside trailers and other out buildings; one man even temporarily barricaded himself in a building, later coming out without incident.
With only six patrol deputies and one sergeant on duty at the time of the incident, LCSO required major help from surrounding agencies. 14 extra units from Springfield Police and Oregon State Police responded to the incident, including Springfield PD's entire swing shift.
“To have a heads-up supervisor in Springfield that was able to send a whole shift up was a tremendous benefit that we just... we may not have been able to have. He may not have been able to do that due to the needs of Springfield, but at this particular time, he had a shots-fired call and people down, obviously officers calling for help. He made a great choice and that was a great benefit for us,” says Sheriff Turner.
Without the extra interagency help, Sheriff Turner says the dangerous situation could have been even worse. With the help, it took more than an hour to clear the property.
While the work was happening, though, LCSO's slim patrols were taxed and unable to respond to other major incidents.
“I want to make sure that people see and have the opportunity to see the difficulty that the Sheriff's Office is just about to step into,” says Sheriff Turner.
Because of staffing levels and the complexity of the shooting, deputies were unable to respond to several major calls including a suicide in the Veneta area, two domestic disputes, one in which a woman was injured, and also a call of shots fired in Veneta.
Two Oregon State Police Troopers on patrol had to respond to those calls instead, going from one to the next.
Over the next two months, the budget picture isn't expected to get better for the Sheriff's Office, which is facing a virtual total elimination of patrol services. By April 7, 2012, the Sheriff's Office will be down to just ten deputies and five sergeants in patrol services.
By May 25, 2012, only six patrol deputies will be employed in the Sheriff's Office.
The Lane County Sheriff's Office is expected to release more information on the shooting in the coming days.