Armed man killed in brief standoff near Grants Pass

Mail Tribune (Medford, OR) – June 24, 2010

Josephine County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man who allegedly fired a gun at them Wednesday morning.

READ – District Attorney Concludes Officer Involved Shooting Fully Justified Under Oregon Law

According to Sheriff Gil Gilbertson, deputies were called to a home in the 1400 block of Denton Trail Road just outside Grants Pass at 7:24 a.m. for a report of a suicidal man.

The man, later identified as 62-year-old Vaughn Ronald Sanderson, reportedly made statements threatening to kill himself with a gun. Sheriff’s deputies were told he was armed as they arrived on the scene, Gilbertson said in a news release.

Deputies received information that two other people were inside the home as Sanderson threatened suicide.

Witnesses told the deputies Sanderson had been drinking prior to the incident, Gilbertson said.

Sanderson allegedly confronted the deputies near the home and was ordered to put down his gun, Gilbertson said. He said Sanderson refused and fired his weapon at a deputy. The deputy returned fire, killing Sanderson.

No one else was injured during the shooting, Gilbertson said.

The sheriff’s office put the involved deputy on paid administrative leave, which is common in officer-involved shootings, Gilbertson said. The deputy was scheduled to be interviewed by Oregon State Police investigators, who took over the case soon after the shooting.

Gilbertson told the Grants Pass Daily Courier his deputies have had to take many calls at the Denton Trail Road home in recent months.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Department was last involved in a fatal shooting in November 2007. In that case, deputies responded to a 2 a.m. call in which Paul Harrison Chesser, 66, was alleged to have fired shots and threatened others during a drunken argument.

The deputies confronted Chesser and ordered him to put down his gun. Chesser allegedly ignored their orders and pointed the weapon at the officers several times before shots were exchanged. The four deputies involved were cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting.