The wife of the Elgin man who was fatally shot when an officer responded to a domestic call early Monday says her husband was unarmed when the shooting occurred.“I want everyone to know Dick’s hands were empty when (Officer) Eric (Kilpatrick) shot him,” Gloria Shafer told The Observer.
Richard “Dick’’ Shafer, 60, died at the scene of the incident Monday morning. Elgin Officer Eric Kilpatrick responded to the Shafer residence after a 7:24 a.m. call to the 9-1-1 dispatch center, District Attorney Tim Thompson told The Observer. Kilpatrick arrived on the scene at 7:38 a.m., a confrontation occurred and Kilpatrick reported that a shooting had occurred at 7:45 a.m., the DA said.
A news release from the Oregon State Police said after arriving at the scene, the officer contacted Shafer who was “holding a rifle.’’
Gloria Shafer said she disputes the accusation and told The Observer she wants to set the record straight on what she saw transpire that morning. She and the couple’s son, John, 11, were both in the house when the incident occurred.
Shafer said she and her husband had a marital dispute early Monday, and she told him she wanted to leave. He demanded she have an officer escort her out, so she called the Elgin Police, and Kilpatrick arrived about 20 minutes later.
According to Shafer, the officer and her husband spoke inside the house and her husband asked if he could take his AR-15 rifle to pickup. Kilpatrick said he could, and after emptying the magazine, Dick Shafer showed the gun to the officer and said he was taking it to his vehicle.
Dick was standing in front of his arm chair with the empty gun pointed toward the floor when “the officer snapped,” Gloria said.
Kilpatrick ordered him to “put down the gun, put down the gun,” Gloria said. At that time he twice Tasered the man, and the empty rifle fell out of his hands to the floor, Gloria said.
Gloria told The Observer that Officer Kilpatrick then turned his attention to her and John. The officer’s arms were extended straight out, and Gloria said he was pointing his gun alternately at her and John. Gloria said Kilpatrick kept looking at her and John yelling repeatedly to drop the gun. She said she didn’t understand why he was saying that because neither she nor her son were armed.“He just lost it,” Gloria said. “He’s a boy with a badge and a gun, and now my husband is dead.”
The woman said she is seeking an attorney and will file a lawsuit against the city.
The Observer has sought out information and reactions from the city of Elgin and the Oregon State Police, the contact for the Union County Major Crimes Team, which is handling the case. Both have declined comment.
Lt. Greg Hastings, spokesman for the OSP, said that “any response would be inappropriate at this time because the investigation is still ongoing.”
The police report on the incident also is unavailable until after the district attorney’s office has concluded its investigation, Hastings said.
READ – Union County Major Crimes Team Investigating Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting in Elgin, OSP press release August 1, 2011
READ – Police officer’s fatal shooting of resident divides northeast Oregon’s Elgin, Oregonian, August 10, 2011 (photos)
READ – Update: Statement by Union County District Attorney Regarding Elgin Police Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation (mentions SB 111), August 11, 2011
READ – Oregon town may disband police force after shooting, AP.com, August 28, 2011
READ – Ore. town may disband police force after shooting, AP.com & KATU.com, August 28, 2011 (photos)