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Update: Statement by Union County District Attorney Regarding Elgin Police Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation
08/09/2011
Timothy R. Thompson
Union County District Attorney
(541) 963-1007

As previously reported, on August 1, 2011, Elgin Police Officer Eric Kilpatrick responded to a reported domestic disturbance at 480 S. Eighth Street and contacted Gloria and Richard Shafer.  At some point during the contact, Richard Shafer became armed with a rifle and was subsequently fatally wounded by Officer Kilpatrick.  Preliminary findings indicate that (1) Officer Kilpatrick fired multiple shots during the course of his response; (2) Mr. Shafer was struck by one or more of the shots; and (3) at least one of the bullets fired by Officer Kilpatrick struck and lodged in Mr. Shafer's rifle.
 
This is an active, on-going investigation into the deadly use of force by a law enforcement officer.  These are very complex investigations that take time to establish all of the facts surrounding the incident and to carefully examine the statements made by all witnesses, as well as to forensically analyze available evidence.  Investigators want to avoid rushing to judgment or prejudging the evidence and witnesses.
 
The District Attorney is charged with the duty of reviewing incidents where deadly physical force is used by police officers to determine if its use met the standards of existing State law.  It would be irresponsible for this office to comment on critical aspects of the investigation, or to engage in public discussions or debate about the case, prior to concluding our investigation.  Further comments regarding the investigation, or responses to public inquiries or reports in the media, would be inappropriate and could potentially jeopardize the objectivity and integrity of the investigation.
 
Senate Bill 111, passed by the Legislative Assembly's 2007 regular session, requires compliance with a range of protocols, including submission of the completed investigation to the Oregon Attorney General - (http://www.doj.state.or.us/oregonians/sb111.shtml).  The mechanism insures public access to these investigations.  I have requested that the Oregon Department of Justice assist in this investigation and conduct a full review of the investigative findings once they are complete.