Grand jury clears deputy in standoff shooting

Suspect Dan Waggoner was indicted on multiple felonies; he remains in critical condition

A Jackson County grand jury on Wednesday returned an attempted aggravated murder indictment against an Eagle Point man who was shot five times by a sheriff's deputy in a standoff. The grand jury determined the deputy, Eric Henderson, was "fully justified and in compliance with Oregon law" in shooting Dan Waggoner Feb. 24 after Waggoner pointed a loaded weapon at the deputy.

The grand jury deliberated less than 15 minutes before its determination, said District Attorney Mark Huddleston in a media release.

Waggoner, who remains hospitalized in critical condition in Rogue Valley Medical Center since the night of the shooting, faces additional charges of attempted first-degree assault with a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon, pointing a firearm at another and interfering with a peace officer, Huddleston said.

If convicted of the Measure 11 attempted murder charge, Waggoner would face a mandatory 10-year sentence.

Deputies responded to Waggoner's home in the 1100 block of Dahlia Terrace in Eagle Point on a rainy Sunday afternoon after receiving a 9-1-1 call from Amy Brown, the mother of three of Waggoner's children. Waggoner had loaded firearms in the home, had fired a shot and was threatening suicide, Brown said.

Testimony presented to the grand jury indicated that only Waggoner was in the home at the time the shot was fired, and it was not directed at a person.

During the stand-off, Deputy Jennifer Anderson attempted to negotiate with Waggoner. However, she was unable to establish phone contact with him. A sergeant with the sheriff's office was able to reach Waggoner by phone, but Waggoner hung up when the officer identified himself.

Waggoner fired a shot from his front porch when the SWAT team moved its vehicle up the driveway in order to establish a perimeter and "zone of control." After firing, Waggoner went behind the home and encountered Henderson, who was one of several officers who had circled around to the back, Huddleston's release said.

Henderson ordered Waggoner to drop the gun. But Waggoner failed to comply, instead turning toward Henderson and pointing a 45-caliber semi-automatic handgun at him. Henderson fired nine shots, five of which struck Waggoner.

An examination of Waggoner's gun showed the weapon was loaded with live ammunition — one round in the firing chamber and seven in the magazine. The gun had the hammer cocked back in the firing position, the release said.

In total, the grand jury heard from 14 witnesses, including Henderson and six other officers who responded to the scene. Also testifying were Brown, Ruth McCall, the mother of one of Waggoner's children, neighbor Clement Brunelle and Oregon State Police Detective Sgt. Jason Westfall, who is a police use-of-force trainer.

"I feel that it really is a shame that the D.A. feels the need to file such harsh charges," McCall said late Wednesday. "He's the father of seven children. They're trying to rob seven children of their father."

Brown could not immediately be reached for comment. She has said she regrets calling 9-1-1 for help during the domestic crisis. She also has said Waggoner is on a respirator, still has a bullet lodged near his spine and is likely paralyzed. Waggoner suffers from depression and anger issues, but he was not a danger to others, Brown has claimed.

McCall has agreed, saying she spoke to Waggoner during the stand-off and said he was calm and reasonable during their conversation.

Waggoner will be cited into court when his medical condition improves to the point that he is able to make a court appearance, Huddleston's release said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.