Investigation into shooting begins

Investigation into shooting begins; suspects remain hospitalized

Police say an Idaho couple shot by police in a northeast Medford neighborhood Thursday were on the lam from Idaho authorities on suspicion of burglary, grand theft and elude charges.

Lt. James Foster, of the Bonneville County Sheriff's Department in Idaho, said 29-year-old Wayne Eugene Pearson and 31-year-old Shavon Ruth Willard (also known as Webb) have been on the run from police since Feb. 27, when they allegedly stole a truck in Idaho and tried to ram a sheriff deputy's vehicle.

Police in Medford say officers from three agencies opened fire Thursday on the pair after they rammed one officer's vehicle as they attempted to escape.

Pearson, who was believed to be driving during both incidents, is wanted on burglary and grand theft warrants in Bonneville County, and felony eluding in Jefferson County, Idaho. Willard is wanted on a felony warrant for a probation violation.

"We've been searching for them since we had the vehicle stolen here," Foster said Friday. "There are other charges we're investigating them for."

Pearson and Willard were apprehended after officers from multiple agencies opened fire on them after the white Dodge pickup they were in allegedly tried to ram an officer's vehicle at about 3 p.m. Thursday.

Officers from the Medford Police Department, Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives and the Oregon Department of Justice were involved in the shooting.

Pearson and Willard had been spotted driving the stolen truck in Douglas County on March 5, police said.

An Oregon Department of Justice agent spotted the truck at the Motel 6 on Biddle Road Thursday afternoon.

"Before any game plan could get set up, that vehicle went mobile again and left the motel, and that's when this event occurred," said Medford Police Chief Tim George.

Pearson, apparently trying to elude police, drove down Hilton Road near Highway 62 and turned onto Northcrest Circle, a cul-de-sac behind Best Buy. After finding himself trapped in the cul-de-sac, Pearson reversed course and allegedly rammed a police vehicle, causing officers to open fire.

Pearson, who witnesses said collapsed after getting out of the pickup, and Willard were transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center with gunshot wounds described as serious. Two officers sought treatment for minor injuries they sustained when the truck hit their police car.

"It's unfortunate it ended the way it did," Foster said.

Police said Pearson and Willard are alive, but Asante officials said their conditions were not available.

George said he wasn't aware of any connections the pair had to Medford.

Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert said the case will be presented to a grand jury when the investigation is complete.

"To look at both the officers' actions, as to whether it was right for them to use deadly force in the way that they did, and to also look at the suspects' actions," Heckert said. "It will be both. The grand jury will be presented all the facts of this case."

George declined to release the names of the two Medford police officers involved in the shooting, saying they have not yet been interviewed. Both have been placed on paid administrative leave, he said.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or

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