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Cop shoots unruly suspect

Child-neglect inquiry takes violent turn; officer who fired was involved in 1999 incident

A man armed with a handgun was shot and wounded Friday by a Medford police officer following a violent struggle inside an apartment in the 1000 block of Spring Street.

Jeffrey Wayne Webb, 21, was placed under arrest following surgery at Rogue Valley Medical Center, where he was taken with non-life-threatening injuries following the 1:40 p.m. shooting at the Julia Ann apartment complex, Medford police Lt. Mike Moran said.

Officer Scott Clauson, a 10-year police department employee who was injured in an officer-involved shooting in 1999, was immediately placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, Moran said.

Clauson, 34, shot Webb once through the left arm, with the bullet becoming lodged in his abdomen. Webb was in possession of a .25-caliber pistol when Clauson contacted him, police said.

(Clauson) did feel he was in danger, Moran said.

— Clauson and another Medford officer went to the apartment complex to assist three child-welfare workers from the state Department of Human Services, who were conducting an investigation at an apartment, Moran said.

While there, a DHS worker received word from his office that a tenant had just called to complain about a naked 2-year-old boy who was outside Apartment 30. The caller also reported ongoing drug activity at the apartment, Moran said.

Clauson spoke with the little boy and knocked repeatedly on the front door of Apartment 30. No one answered, so Clauson walked around the apartment and entered through a back door, Moran said.

Clauson found Webb lying on the couch, with a 1-year-old girl crying in a nearby crib.

Moran said Clauson felt the children were at risk, and attempted to arrest Webb for child neglect. The children were removed from the apartment by a DHS worker.

During a pat-down, Clauson discovered a .25-caliber pistol in Webb's pants pocket. Webb became agitated, and would not allow himself to be handcuffed, police said.

He put up a very strong resistance, Moran said.

Clauson was unable to subdue Webb when he fired a shot of pepper spray in his direction. Webb's handgun was knocked loose from Clauson's gun belt during the struggle. When Webb tried to pick up the weapon, he was shot once by Clauson, Moran said.

Webb was taken to RVMC for surgery to remove the bullet. Meanwhile, police detained another man who was upstairs inside the apartment when Clauson walked in, Moran said. He was later released.

Moments after the shooting, at least a dozen officers arrived at the complex.

We heard a loud bang ... and a second later, every cop in town showed up, said Jerry Grater of Grants Pass, who was working at an adjacent construction site when the shooting occurred.

Webb's girlfriend of five years, Amy Jacobs, showed up at the apartments about an hour after the shooting. She said she did not believe Webb, who according to court records has no prior criminal history in Oregon, would become violent with police.

Jeff would never pull a gun on them ' never! said an outraged Jacobs. He's a good guy. He's not some gang-banger, and he did not deserve to get shot.

Moran said Webb was baby-sitting another woman's children at the apartment on Friday. The children were taken into protective custody by DHS workers, he said.

Police served a search warrant at the apartment late Friday.

Moran said when Webb is released from RVMC, he will be jailed on charges of attempted first-degree assault, second-degree child neglect and resisting arrest. Additional charges are possible, as the case is likely to be heard by a grand jury sometime in June, he said.

Friday's incident was the second time in May in which Medford police officers opened fire on an armed suspect. On May 11, Nicholas Vega, 34, was shot and killed by three Medford officers after refusing to drop a rifle, police said. All three officers involved in the shooting are on mandatory paid leave while the incident is under investigation.

It's unusual for Medford to have two officer-involved shootings in 16 days, Moran said. The danger in policing in Medford is much higher today than it was in years past.

In December 1999, Clauson was shot in the leg during a gunfight with an armed man in the 400 block of South Columbus Avenue. Clauson underwent surgery and recovered from his injury, but did not return to full-time patrol duty until last month, Moran said. The man who shot Clauson, Moises Llamas, was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison after being convicted of attempted murder in connection with the shooting.

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Amy Jacobs reacts to the news that her boyfriend, Jeffrey Wayne Webb, was shot and wounded by a Medford police officer Friday. Standing with her are Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen, left, and Community Service Officer Arturo Vega. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven