A Washington County sheriff’s deputy and sergeant were justified in their fatal shooting of an Aloha man who pointed a loaded rifle at them in July, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office determined this month.
Shortly before 8:15 p.m. on July 7, sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a man armed with a rifle walking along Southwest 195th Avenue near Farmington Road in Aloha. Multiple people told 9-1-1 operators that the man was pointing the weapon at neighbors and passing vehicles.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Chad Lotman and Deputy Brian Wood were some of the first authorities to arrive at the incident, wrote Chief Deputy District Attorney Roger Hanlon in a letter upholding the shooting to Sheriff Pat Garrett. They found the man, whom they identified as 56-year-old Jeffery David Anderson, standing in 195th Avenue with the firearm.
Deputies shouted at Anderson to drop the rifle and walk toward them. Anderson, according to the Dec. 4 letter, initially complied, placing the gun on the ground. He took a few steps toward the deputies.
Anderson then turned around, picked up the Ruger 10-22 rifle, with a banana magazine, and pointed it at the deputies, the letter said. Lotman and Wood both fired one round from their duty weapons, striking Anderson. He was taken to OHSU Hospital, where he later died.
“While Mr. Anderson’s death is tragic for all those involved, there is no evidence that either Sgt. Lotman or Dep. Wood engaged in any criminal wrongdoing,” Hanlon wrote in the letter. “It is abundantly clear from the witnesses, video, and deputies on scene that Mr. Anderson was ‘using…unlawful deadly physical force’ against the responding officers to provoke a deadly response from the deputies. Therefore, Sgt. Lotman and Dep. Wood were justified under Oregon criminal statutes in their use of deadly physical force in this matter.”
In the days before the shooting, according to the letter, Anderson made suicidal statements to his wife and daughter.
During an interview with The Oregonian following the incident, Anderson’s wife, Susan, described her husband as a severely depressed alcoholic who began pulling away from her and his family during the past year. She described a pattern of unpredictable behavior. One moment, he apologized for his drinking. The next, he was angry.