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No criminal charges for Jackson County man who shot trespasser

The 79-year-old feared for his life after believing the victim pulled out a gun that instead turned out to be a flashlight

No criminal charges will be filed against a Jackson County man who shot someone the evening of Feb. 6 in the 600 block of Savage Creek Road, outside of Grants Pass, because the man believed he was acting in self-defense, the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

The shooting victim, Brian Patrick Arnold, 65, died at a local hospital Feb. 13 as a result of the single shot to the head.

Bill Gene Bradley, 79, went to the Savage Creek Road property to tell Arnold to leave because he was trespassing. He told sheriff’s detectives he had been asked by the property owner — also a neighbor — to watch for trespassers.

The owner, Travis Martin, confirmed the information Bradley had provided to detectives in a separate conversation with investigators. Martin also explained that he had completed an eviction process to have the squatters removed in January and that he would have contacted Bradley to let him know if anyone was expected to be at the site.

Bradley saw vehicles shining from the neighbor’s property, so he picked up his handgun and put it in his pocket before walking to the site down a path until he entered the neighbor’s driveway, behind a gate. Bradley saw Arnold and told him to leave because the owner did not tell him anyone would be on the property.

Bradley turned on his flashlight and told Arnold he was going to have his wife call the police. Arnold responded by telling Bradley that he was going to leave.

However, Arnold began quickly approaching Bradley and arguing with him.

“When he got to about to within about 20 feet of the gate, Mr. Arnold reached into his jacket and pulled out an object,” the D.A.’s office said. “Mr. Bradley believed the object was a gun, so he fired twice.”

Bradley said he was in fear for his life and told detectives that, at that moment, “he thought at his age and with his health conditions there was nothing else he could do,” the D.A.’s office explained.

However, after Arnold fell to the ground, Bradley “saw the flashlight near Mr. Arnold's hand and realized it was not a gun.”

A second trespasser with Arnold that evening was found by law enforcement and provided information that conflicted with what Bradley said. However, it was determined the account of that witness contained several pieces of information that “contradicted evidence on scene.”

“Although Mr. Bradley was mistaken about a gun being in Mr. Arnold's hand, it is reasonable that someone in Mr. Bradley's position could be mistaken about the gun and use deadly physical force in self-defense,” the D.A.’s office added.