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Deputy honored for saving man's life

A Jackson County Sheriff's Department deputy has been honored for likely saving the life of a suicidal man who was stabbing himself.

Deputy Ben Weaver was named the Jackson County Employee of the Month Wednesday.

"Earlier this year he de-escalated a potentially lethal encounter with a suicidal subject, and his actions most likely saved the individual's life," Jackson County Commissioner Colleen Roberts said in presenting the award to Weaver.

Jackson County commissioners also cited his strong work ethic and service to residents on both day and night shifts.

Commissioner Rick Dyer said it is important to recognize the difficult and important work done by law enforcement personnel.

On July 22, deputies were dispatched to a Gold Hill home in response to a suicidal man. When deputies arrived, the man had left the home, prompting them to begin a search in town.

The man was spotted walking on Second Avenue near Ray's Food Place and then got into a vehicle, where he was approached by Weaver.

The man grabbed a knife, began cutting himself and got out of the vehicle still carrying the knife, according to the sheriff's department.

Weaver gave numerous verbal commands for the man to drop the knife. The deputy was able to position himself at a distance from the man behind his patrol car and begin negotiating with him.

Weaver got the man into a semi-cooperative state, but then the man began to try and stab himself in the stomach and chest. The deputy was able to shoot the suicidal man with a non-lethal beanbag round in the lower leg, which caused him to drop the knife. The man was then taken into custody, officials said.

Although he has been with the sheriff's department for only one year, Weaver is experienced and was hired out of the Ashland Police Department, Sheriff Corey Falls said. Falls also served on the Ashland Police Department before taking office as sheriff this year.

Falls said Weaver has been a great asset to both organizations.

After receiving the award, Weaver said deputies try to de-escalate potentially violent or deadly situations when they can.

"I'm thankful for the way it played out," he said.

Weaver said he doesn't feel like he individually deserves the award, because he works as a team with his colleagues.

"This is for the team I'm a part of," he said.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.