Deputies shoot, kill knife-wielding man

From the Eugene Register-Guard, April 1, 2005

Two sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a knife- and hatchet-wielding man on his parents’ rural Coos County property after a stun gun failed to stop him, authorities said Thursday.

Three deputies initially responded to a call from 38-year-old Ronald Love Oxford’s father Wednesday morning, saying that his son was `off his medications,’ was hearing voices and was threatening to kill his family and himself.

By the time deputies Will Krahenbuhl, Brandon Engelstad and Jason Patterson arrived at the home at 63256 Valma Road, Oxford had barricaded himself in an upstairs room of the house, said Coos County chief deputy district attorney Paul Frasier. When Krahenbuhl went to the doorway at the top of the staircase, Oxford yelled profanities and threats at him, Frasier said. Krahenbuhl checked the barricade, and Oxford advanced upon him with a knife, Frasier said, at which point all three deputies retreated and called for backup.

The county’s shift commander, Cpl. Jeff Grant, soon arrived with Detective Toby Floyd and tried to talk to Oxford , who told the officers they’d have to come in and kill him, Frasier said. After more orders to Oxford to surrender, Grant parted the barricade and sprayed pepper spray into the room.

Oxford then left the room via a drop-down ladder and Patterson ordered him to the floor, Frasier said. When Oxford refused, the officer fired a Taser, a nonlethal stun gun that delivers two wires carrying a jolt of electricity to the target.

That jolt had no effect on Oxford , who ripped the wires off and continued after Patterson with a knife and hatchet, Frasier said. The officer left the house and moved toward an attached garage, where three other officers came to his aid.

At that point, Oxford turned on Floyd, who was leaving the house via the garage. Floyd retreated toward the back of the garage, yelling at Oxford to stop and drop his weapons, but the man kept coming, Frasier said, and backed Floyd into a corner. Floyd and Krahenbuhl fired several shots at Oxford , who was hit at least twice, police said. Oxford was pronounced dead at the scene.

Frasier said the shooting appeared justified, but Coos Bay police will investigate the incident. Police Chief Eura Washburne said she expects the probe to be completed by next week. Meanwhile, all five officers have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard practice after an officer-involved shooting.

Oxford, described by court records as 6 feet tall and 230 pounds, has a criminal history that dates back to at least 1987, with convictions for theft, conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine and endangering the welfare of a minor.

His mother, Reta Oxford, declined to comment Thursday. Several neighbors said they had experienced no problems at the house before Wednesday’s shooting.

“We did hear some shots,” said Anne Kelley, who lives behind the Oxfords. “But we stayed away. They’ve lived here for 20-some years. Everything is all quiet up here on the hill.”