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MailTribune.com
  • Two shot after Medford police chase

    Medford neighborhood has front-row seats as law enforcement agencies take down alleged Idaho fugitives
  • A shooting involving three law enforcement agencies and a pair of Idaho fugitives left both suspects seriously injured from gunshot wounds and rattled a north Medford neighborhood Thursday, police said.
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  • A shooting involving three law enforcement agencies and a pair of Idaho fugitives left both suspects seriously injured from gunshot wounds and rattled a north Medford neighborhood Thursday, police said.
    Broken glass and at least 30 shotgun and rifle cartridges were scattered throughout the intersection of Hilton Road and Northcrest Circle where police opened fire on the suspects while they were inside a moving vehicle.
    Medford Police Department Chief Tim George would not comment on whether the suspects, a man and a woman, were armed or shot at police — but their white 1998 Dodge truck rammed an occupied police vehicle.
    George said the suspects are not being identified at this time, but the man was driving.
    "There is no question ... that this suspect knew that those officers were trying to take him into custody — he and his passenger — and then he took some action and that's where we are in this," George said. "Once he makes that decision and there is force used, that's where this investigation takes off from."
    The shooting involved four officers from three agencies, George said. Two officers were from the Medford Police Department, one was from the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives and the fourth was from the Oregon Department of Justice.
    George said police have been on the lookout for the individuals involved and were considering the suspects armed and dangerous based off past law enforcement information.
    The four officers involved in the shooting had been pursuing the Dodge pickup following it leaving the Motel 6 on Biddle Road when it began to make an effort to "avoid," police, George said. Oregon State Police and the U.S. Marshall Service also were involved in the pursuit, he said.
    "There was obviously going to be an attempt to stop this vehicle and arrest these two individuals and obviously the driver had other intentions," George said. "Let's just say they attempted to avoid an arrest ... once the individual figured out this was the police."
    The truck turned off Hilton Road onto Northcrest Circle, a cul-de-sac, George said, and police were attempting to deploy a spike strip at the entrance when the truck accelerated out of the cul-de-sac and rammed an occupied police vehicle.
    The officer inside the vehicle was transported to the hospital with a minor injury, George said, unwilling to identify to which agency the officer belonged.
    George said both suspects were transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center and treated for gunshot wounds.
    "I can tell you that their injuries are serious," George said. "Both have undergone some surgery."
    At 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, George said both suspects were still being treated, but he did not known their medical condition.
    Jean Stullich, 75, a resident of an apartment complex on the corner of Hilton Road and Corona Avenue, said she watched the shooting unfold from her second-story patio.
    After hearing a loud noise from inside her kitchen, Stullich walked outside just in time to see a white Dodge truck leaving the Northcrest Circle cul-de-sac and turning east onto Hilton Road.
    "They (police) were trying to block him in and I guess he decided he didn't want to be blocked in," Stullich said. "Suddenly police from all over the place .... started shooting.
    "He lost control and started plowing through the fence."
    Stullich said she saw two people inside the cab of the white Dodge truck, and police ordered the driver to get out once it crashed.
    "I heard the police say 'put your hands up, put your hands up, put them up higher,'" she said.
    Police ordered the driver of the Dodge to stick his hands out the window and open the door, which he did before falling out of the seat onto the ground, Stullich said.
    "I heard him yelling, 'I am sorry, I am so sorry,'" she said.
    Once paramedics arrived, they began treating the driver of the Dodge and loaded him into an ambulance, she said.
    Stullich said she didn't see the passenger get out of the Dodge, which was riddled with bullet holes, had its window broken out and had a stream of dried blood running down the driver's side door.
    Megan Sing, 58, who lives in the same apartment complex, said she witnessed some of the incident.
    "Police opened fire with shotguns and everything else, then he veered right into the neighbor's yard," she said. "My husband kept yelling at me to 'lay down, lay down.'"
    Sing said before police opened fire on the pickup, its driver rammed a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by what she believed to be a law enforcement officer.
    One stray bullet struck the side of her garage and lodged itself about a half-inch into the siding.
    "That's a massive amount of bullets," she said, pointing at broken glass and more than 30 shotgun and rifle casings scattered throughout the intersection of Hilton Road and Northcrest Circle. "A little excessive don't you think?"
    Chris Palmer, 31, was taking a nap in his apartment and was awoken by four shots, he said. When he came out onto his porch, he saw a police officer walking away from the crashed white Dodge pickup holding an assault rifle.
    Andy Pallotta, 30, who's lived in the apartment complex for about a year, said he heard "nine to 10 shots" fired.
    "There were a whole bunch of shots — so many I didn't think it was a gun," said Erin Clayborn, 25, who has also lived in the apartments for about a year.
    The Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit was called to the scene to investigate, George said. The Medford police officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as per protocol, he said. Oregon State Police is the lead agency working the investigation, because it did not have an officer involved in the shooting, George said.
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
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