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Man killed by police was on meth

A knife-wielding man who was shot to death by police on the Grants Pass Parkway in October had toxic levels of methamphetamine in his bloodstream, lab results show.

Josephine County District Attorney Ryan Mulkins said Tuesday that Oregon State Police tested Shawn Pappe's blood at an OSP forensic lab in the Portland area. The report reached his office in January.

The results validated Mulkins' conclusion that deadly use of force was justified in the Oct. 13 shooting of Pappe, a 46-year-old Gold Hill resident who rammed vehicles in the Walmart parking lot, then crashed on the Parkway before charging officers with a large knife.

"It confirms what we already suspected at the time of this incident: Mr. Pappe was heavily under the influence of meth," said Mulkins, who previously concluded after a review of reports and video that deadly force was justified.

Pappe had 8.8 milligrams per liter of meth in his bloodstream, and the lab stops testing at 10 mg/liter, according to Mulkins. He also had cannabinoids in his bloodstream.

Levels of as low as 2.5 milligrams per liter of meth can be toxic and possibly fatal, according to several medical references.

"Our general feeling is that's super-high," added Detective Lt. Dennis Ward of the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.

In the October incident, police engaged Pappe for 20 minutes after the crash, first knocking out a heavily tinted window so they could see him inside the disabled Chevrolet Tahoe.

Pappe was holding a large, combat-style tactical knife in his hand while speaking with police, using it to chop and stab at the interior of his vehicle.

Officers reported that Pappe made a comment about needing his meth. They concluded that Pappe appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant and was dangerously delirious.

After being notified that an ambulance was on the way, Pappe was told repeatedly to throw his knife out of the vehicle's window and not to exit his vehicle with the knife in his hand.

Pappe then shouted at officers and dove headfirst out of the broken passenger side window, still holding his knife. While he was on the ground, officers tried to subdue him with a Taser and "bean bag" rounds. He still refused to drop the knife.

When Pappe began to advance on the officers, they fired multiple rounds at him. Pappe was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pappe previously made headlines in 2015 after he was convicted of arson for setting fire to an outbuilding on his former property, which was in foreclosure, in Gold Hill.

The deadly confrontation was the Department of Public Safety's first officer-involved fatal shooting since 2014, when 29-year-old Daniel Diaz was killed during an armed standoff on Northwest Blossom Drive.

That shooting was believed to be the first fatal shooting involving Grants Pass police in the city's history. Then-District Attorney Stephen Campbell reviewed the case and ruled it was justifiable.

— Reach reporter Jeff Duewel at 541-474-3720 or jduewel@thedailycourier.com

Shawn Pappe