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Initial report points to self-defense in White City death

A preliminary investigation supports a White City grandfather's justification for using deadly force to protect his home and family when he shot a 49-year-old, unarmed intruder Monday afternoon, officials say.

"It's fair to say on our initial review that it appears to be a self-defense situation," said Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston. "We won't make a final determination until we see a police report."

Mark Corsbie of Medford had tried to get into several homes in the neighborhood before running up to the front door at 7898 Andrea Drive at about 1:25 p.m., saying he was being chased, according to sheriff's deputies.

When Corsbie attempted to push his way into the house past a woman who answered the door, he was shot with a .357-caliber revolver.

Friends have identified the alleged shooter as Norm Thomas, 66, a career military man retired from the U.S. Air Force.

Huddleston said none of the three family members in the Andrea Drive house was injured. He said a representative from the District Attorney's Office was present during interviews with witnesses to the shooting.

Huddleston said using force to protect someone is described in three Oregon laws:

Oregon Revised Statute 161.209 allows a third party to defend someone else who is being threatened.

ORS 161.225 allows a person to use physical force if someone is trespassing. Deadly physical force can be used in defending another person who is being threatened or when it is necessary to prevent violence by a trespasser.

ORS 161.219 allows for the use of deadly physical force to stop someone who is threatening violent acts while entering a house.

Huddleston said he expects it will take another week or two before he receives all of the evidence and can decide whether to call for a grand jury inquiry.

Andrea Carlson, spokeswoman for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, said investigators so far have determined Corsbie attempted to push aside the daughter and enter the home when the father shot Corsbie in the upper torso.

"The deceased did not die immediately," she said.

Instead, Corsbie collapsed on the front lawn. Emergency crews attempted to keep him alive, applying a white towel to staunch the flow of blood.

She said the father, daughter and her son were taken out of the house after the shooting so that detectives could investigate the scene.

Carlson said investigators found no weapon on Corsbie.

Prior to the shooting, emergency dispatch received two other calls from residents describing an erratic man crying out for help.

The two other calls occurred on Avenue E, which crosses Andrea Drive.

Only one shot was fired from the revolver, Carlson said. An autopsy was being conducted Tuesday to determine whether Corsbie suffered from any other injuries, she said.

Corsbie was sentenced in January 2004 to 70 months in prison for a second-degree robbery in October 2003 at the Purple Parrot on South Central Avenue, court records show.

Corsbie, who was wearing sunglasses and a black curly wig under a green stocking cap, prodded a worker in the back with his finger, announcing he was robbing the store.

When the worker discovered Corsbie's ruse, he chased him outside, tackling him on the asphalt.

Corsbie was held in Jackson County Jail without bail because he faced a probation violation.

He was divorced from one wife in January 2011, and a second wife filed for a restraining order against him in March, records show. She filed for divorce a week later, records show.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.