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Sheriff reveals new details in Rogue River shooting

Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler said the man shot by a sheriff’s deputy Tuesday had a loaded rifle prior to the shooting. Nick Morgan / Mail Tribune

A man killed by a Jackson County sheriff’s deputy outside Rogue River had physically assaulted his father, and in the moments leading up to the fatal shooting by police had returned to his father’s home armed with a loaded rifle.

The domestic violence victim called 911 at 11:02 a.m. Tuesday to report the attack in the 1500 block of Queens Branch Road, Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler said Thursday in a press conference.

“The victim advised ECSO (Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon) call takers that he thought the suspect was going to kill him,” Sickler said. The father told dispatchers that his son had fled the scene in a vehicle, described him as suicidal and armed with a firearm.

Sickler described the man killed by police as a 32-year-old white man, but he did not identify the dead man.

“At the request of the family, we’re not going to be releasing the name of the decedent or the suspect at this time, but foresee that to be coming in the near future,” Sickler said.

The domestic violence victim had “visible injury” when the first sheriff’s deputy arrived at 11:29 a.m. Sickler said that to the best of his knowledge, the father and son were the only ones home at the time.

The suspect returned to the property outside Rogue River city limits in a vehicle and was holding a .22-caliber rifle Sickler said.

At 11:42 a.m., the deputy called in a report of shots fired on his radio, and the incident was recorded on the deputy’s body camera.

“The involved deputy fired several rounds from his duty handgun into the vehicle, striking the suspect several times,” Sickler said.

Sickler declined to provide specifics about what led up to the shooting because the Jackson County Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit is still investigating.

MADIU is still questioning witnesses and piecing together forensic evidence, according to Sickler. Medford police are leading the shooting investigation.

“I can tell you that the suspect was armed when he arrived back at the location ... and the deputy fired after receiving a threat,” Sickler said.

Sheriff’s deputies rendered aid, but medical personnel pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Sickler said there were prior calls for service, but declined to provide details.

The deputy involved in the shooting is on paid administrative leave until he is cleared by a grand jury, according to Sickler. The leave is standard procedure after a deputy uses deadly force.

The findings of the investigation will be presented to the Jackson County District Attorney, and a grand jury will review the evidence to determine whether the deputy’s use of force was justified. Sickler said the identities of the dead man and the deputy involved will be released after the grand jury hearing, which could occur in the middle of June.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.