Shooting by Lane County deputy ruled to be justified

From the Eugene Register Guard, April 7, 2012

A Lane County sheriff’s deputy was legally justified in shooting a woman who told an investigator that she had been “stupid” to pull out a gun during a confrontation with a deputy in the Cedar Flat area east of Springfield, county District Attorney Alex Gardner said Friday.

Deputy Jason Wilson shot and wounded 31-year-old Jennifer Tucker on Monday after seeing her reach for a .44-­caliber revolver that she had tucked in her waistband, Gardner said.

Tucker was shot four times — twice in the neck, once in the chest and once in a hand. She remains hospitalized with what Gardner characterized as critical injuries.

Tucker has not been charged with any crime in connection with the case.

During an interview at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Tucker admitted to Springfield police Detective George Crolly that she had pulled out her revolver moments before being shot.

“She (told Crolly), ‘I was stupid,’ ” Gardner said. “She said, ‘I pulled a gun and he shot me.’ ”

Gardner added that although Wilson did not see Tucker actually grab her gun, the deputy said he began shooting at Tucker because “he thought he was going to be shot” after seeing her reach for the weapon.

Wilson’s shooting of Tucker “is clearly an appropriate, lawful use of force,” Gardner said.

Deputies were called to the 87000 block of Cedar Flat Road just after 10 p.m. Monday, after someone reported that Tucker was fighting with her father. He lives in the neighborhood and has custody of her children, Gardner said.

Deputies subsequently learned that shots had been fired in the area before their arrival.

When Wilson and sheriff’s Deputy Brian Jessee arrived at the scene, they identified Tucker. She told them she had fired several rounds and threatened to do so again, officials said.

After one of the deputies asked Tucker — who was holding a bowl of food while standing near the end of a driveway — to put up her hands, she instead turned and began walking away from the deputies, officials said.

Jessee then fired his Taser at Tucker. But the stun gun was not effective, most likely because only one of the device’s two electrically charged darts made contact with her skin, officials said.

Deputies told investigators that Tucker flinched, then reached for her revolver. Both deputies responded by reaching for their own guns. While Jessee did not fire on Tucker, Wilson shot her four times, Gardner said.

Investigators later learned that Tucker’s blood tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana, Gardner said.

Immediately after the shooting, the deputies allegedly were confronted by two men. One of them — Springfield resident Anthony Koloski — began yelling at them and “presenting a hostile demeanor,” sheriff’s Capt. Byron Trapp said.

Koloski “advanced toward” Jessee before being tackled and taken into custody, Trapp said.

Koloski then resisted being handcuffed before deputies placed him in a patrol car, where he continued to scream and kick, Trapp said.

Authorities said Koloski’s resistance delayed any effort to take Tucker’s gun from her and tend to her injuries.

Koloski, 32, said in an interview with The Register-­Guard that the allegations against him are false. He said he does not know Tucker, and arrived at the driveway where the shooting occurred moments before deputies got there. Koloski said he had driven a friend there to visit some of her friends.

Koloski, who spent much of Tuesday in the Lane County Jail after being charged with interfering with police, said he plans to plead not guilty in his case.

Trapp said Friday that investigators do not know why Koloski became hostile during the incident.

Meanwhile, sheriff’s officials plan to review the shooting to determine whether all department policies were followed.

Wilson was involved in another shooting case previously. In December 2008, he shot and wounded a man who had pulled a gun on police and threatened to blow up a propane tank during a tense confrontation west of Eugene.

The man, Bix Barker, was sentenced to 13 months in prison after pleading guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and menacing.

Just before Barker raised his gun toward deputies, Jessee tried to subdue him by firing beanbag rounds at him from a rifle.

Jessee, 39, and Wilson, 38, both have been employed by the sheriff’s office for more than 14 years, Trapp said.