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Man who shot at cops gets 5-year term

A Rogue River man shot by a Jackson County sheriff's deputy last summer will spend five years in prison for shooting first.

Curtis Lee Vancil, 33, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court to the attempted shooting of Deputy Charles Retzer, who, along with other deputies, pursued Vancil on July 29. Vancil refused to stop his Geo Metro when Retzer tried to pull him over in White City and didn't stop until he reached rural Douglas County.

He has this rifle and every now and then, he takes a pot-shot at the cops, said David Hoppe, deputy district attorney for Jackson County.

— After the Geo spun out near Azalea, Vancil climbed out. While attempting to run away, he pointed a 9 mm pistol at Retzer, who shot him in the lower back. Vancil spent about a week recovering at Rogue Valley Medical Center. A grand jury found Retzer was justified in shooting.

In addition to attempted first-degree assault, Vancil pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempting to elude, reckless driving, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, first-degree theft and possession of methamphetamine. Before crossing paths with deputies, he stole four guns and other items from three cars parked along East Evans Creek Road near Rogue River. While fleeing, he tossed loot from his car.

Vancil, who had no prior felony convictions in Oregon, had been arrested a month before the chase in connection with a string of vehicle break-ins throughout Medford.

Circuit Court Judge Patricia Crain agreed to dismiss 11 other charges against Vancil Tuesday, including six counts of attempted aggravated murder. Before pleading guilty, Vancil was scheduled to stand trial Tuesday. If convicted, he would have faced a mandatory 10 years in prison.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail Man who shot at cops gets 5-year term"slemon@mailtribune.com.