What happened to Stephen McMilon

Stephen McMilon, 52, was shot and killed Sunday, August 24, 2014,  by Medford Police Officers Salvador Garcia and Stephen Meador.  This post represents, to the extent possible, all media reports, pictures, and video on the shooting.

One dead in officer-involved shooting

KDRV.com, August 24, 2014

Medford Police Chief Tim George (L) and other officers at the scene of August 24 shooting

Medford Police Chief Tim George (L) and other officers at the scene of August 24 shooting

One man is dead following an officer involved shooting on Sunday evening.  Medford Police said officers were called to the scene at 4:25 p.m. Neighbors had called 911 after noticing a suspicious man carrying a shot gun walking down Cherry Street on Medford’s west side.

When police arrived, the subject started firing his gun at the officers.  Two officers fired back in self defense, shooting and killing the man in a church parking lot on the corner of Stewart Ave. and Orchard Home Dr..  No officers were injured.  This all happened in a several minute time period.  Other police officers from various agencies including, Oregon State Police and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department arrived shortly after the incident.  Medical personnel were also dispatched to the scene.  NewsWatch 12 was first on the scene, and when we arrived the subject was appeared to be getting CPR from medical personnel.  Minutes later, the body was covered  up.

After further investigation, police said the subject was not only carrying the shot gun, but two other fire arms as well.  The suspect is now being identified as Stephen Andrew McMilon, a 52-year-old male and Medford resident.

Members of the Major Assault Death Investigation Unit are investigating the shooting. Medford Police is expected to meet with other police agencies Monday morning to discuss the investigation.

The four Medford Police officers involved in the shooting are currently on administrative leave for the time being.

Medford Police identify man killed in officer-involved shooting

The Oregonian, August 25, 2014

Police say two Medford officers shot and killed a man who fired a shotgun at a third officer.

Chief Tim George tells the Medford Mail Tribune that officers were approaching the man Sunday afternoon on foot and in an armored vehicle when he fired.

Residents on the western outskirts of Medford said the man was walking along the street yelling and brandishing the shotgun. Police say he also had two handguns and “substantial ammunition.”

Police identified the man Monday as 52 -year-old Stephen Andrew McMilon of Medford….Continue reading at OregonLive.com

Police release new details on shooting

KDRV.com,  August 25, 2014

Police said there is still plenty of work to be done in the investigation of an officer-involved shooting from Sunday, but released new information about an encounter with the man an hour before the shooting.

The shooting happened near Cherry Street and Stewart Avenue. 52-year-old Stephen McMilon was acting strangely, carrying a shotgun and talking incoherently, according to police. Shortly after officers arrived, McMilon fired once at an officer. Officers returned fire and killed him.

Earlier that afternoon, police had been at McMilon’s house on Chestnut Street for a possible domestic disturbance and a report of a shot fired, but officers did not find evidence of a crime.

“Multiple officers responded to that location. Couldn’t make a determination that a crime had occurred,” said Medford Police Chief Tim George. “They talked to both [McMilon] and the female subject at that residence and then cleared from that scene.”

The case is being led by Oregon State Police. Once they make their findings, the case could be presented to a grand jury to determine if the officers were justified in their actions. Four officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Medford police shoot and kill man brandishing a shotgun-UPDATE

KAJO 1270AM, August 25, 2014

The Medford Police Department shot and killed a man who was brandishing a shotgun and firing at officers at the intersection of Cherry Street and W. Stewart Avenue at roughly 4:25 p.m. Sunday.

The man, identified as 52-year-old Stephen Andrew McMilon, had been seen brandishing the shotgun and walking on Cherry Street before police arrived. When officers were on scene they ordered residents inside while they dealt with McMilon.

Officers were approaching McMilon both in an armored vehicle and on foot when McMilon began shooting at an officer. Two other officers 50 feet away began shooting at McMilon and struck him. McMilon was declared deceased at the scene.

During a search of McMilon’s person officers located two handguns and a substantial amount of ammo in addition to the shotgun.

Officers responded to McMilon’s residence at 128 ½ Chestnut Street just before 3:00 p.m. Sunday due a disturbance between McMilon and a female. No action was taken because no evidence of a crime was found.

Four officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave while the case is being investigated.

Neighbors react to shooting

KDRV.com, August 25, 2014

On Monday, Cherry Street residents are reacting to yesterday’s shooting.

Medford police says Medford’s west side does have a higher crime rate than other parts of the city. From the first of the year to now, there have been a total of 89 emergency calls made in correlation to incidents on Cherry Street.

Some residents say there is the occasional case of petty theft, and at night strangers do tend to walk down the street, but several people who live in the area said this latest act of violence is not making them rethink their safety.

“I mean it could happen anywhere, it’s the type of thing you see on national news all the time, I mean you never think it could happen in front of your own house, but it could happen anywhere,” said Roger Hulseman who lives on the street.

Area residents said for the most part the area is calm and quiet.

Press conference on fatal police shooting of Stephen McMilon

August 25, 2014

Man shot by Medford cops had PTSD, neighbors say

KDRV.com, August 25, 2014

Neighbors described Stephen McMilon as a former Marine who had severe bouts with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which they believe led to an altercation Sunday in which he was shot and killed by police.

The incident occurred Sunday afternoon along Stewart Avenue and Cherry Street. Police said McMilon was reportedly acting “strangely,” speaking incoherently and brandishing a shotgun while walking down Cherry Street. Shortly after officers arrived, McMilon fired a shot toward one officer. Other officers returned fire, killing him.

Neighbors said McMilon was a Marine veteran of Operation Desert Storm, who liked people to call him “sarge.” They said he had sought treatment for his PTSD at the White City Veteran Affairs Office. Neighbors said McMilon suffered from flashbacks, and said he would become extremely paranoid when he was off his medication. They described his episodes as “code red,” and said that was what probably led him to arm himself Sunday before his altercation with police.

“At different times, he would go into code red. And this was the final code red that he went into because he’s not with us anymore,” said a next-door neighbor Dale, who declined to give her last name.

In 2003, McMilon was accused of using a deadly weapon and endangering another person by firing it outside his previous home on Chestnut Street, but those charges were later dismissed.

PTSD sufferers have options

KDRV.com, August 26, 2014

Experts urged people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to seek help for their condition, and friends of a man shot and killed by police said they wished he had sought more of that kind of help.

Sunday, 52-year-old Stephen McMilon fired a shotgun at a police officer, and officers returned fire, killing him. Friends and neighbors said McMilon was a Gulf War veteran who suffered from PTSD, and who would go into a paranoid, “code red” mode when he was off his medication.

Jackson County Mental Health said PTSD is one of the most common conditions they treat, and said it can affect people from all walks of life. People with PTSD can suffer from flashbacks to a traumatic event, can become paranoid, and can cause physical agitation as well.

“We’re really looking at stress responses that are continuing months after a traumatic event has occurred,” said Rick Rawlins with Jackson County Mental Health.

The most important thing for people with PTSD is to seek help. Rawlins said medication and therapy are some of the options available. Jackson County also has a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline at 541-774-8201.

Medford police shoot, kill man brandishing shotgun

The Register-Guard, August 26, 2014

Police say an hour and a half before officers shot and killed a man who fired a shotgun at another officer on a Medford street, police had been called to his home over a disturbance.

Stephen Andrew McMilon was shot by two Medford police officers late Sunday afternoon on a street on the western outskirts of the city, police said. He had fired one shot from his shotgun at an officer.

The street where he was shot is about a 15-minute walk from McMilon’s home.

Lt. Mike Budreau says McMilon had been acting strangely, though not in a menacing manner. Besides the shotgun, he had two handguns and “substantial” ammunition.

Chief Tim George tells the Medford Mail Tribune that officers were approaching the man on foot and in an armored vehicle when he fired.

Resident Ed Welch said he heard police yell at the man to drop his gun. The man had his gun raised and yelled back at police, “You go to hell!” One police officer was taking cover behind a Jeep.

The owner of the Jeep, Korby Wallace, said he saw the man pump the shotgun.

Resident Luis Hernandez said he saw the man walking down the side of the road, screaming at someone. He put ammunition inside a gun and readied it for firing.

Hernandez said after he went inside his garage at the urging of police, he heard seven or eight shots fired, but couldn’t tell who fired them.

Earlier, when police went to McMilon’s home, officers contacted him and a woman, but concluded no crime had been committed, Budreau said.

Detectives from regional agencies have begun an investigation, and the case will be presented to a grand jury, Budreau said. No officers were hurt. The four officers involved are on paid administrative leave.

 “This is a major investigation,” said George. “We’ve taken the life of a person and it doesn’t get any more serious than that.”

In their shoes: How police deal with an officer involved shooting

KOBI TV-5 Medford, August 26, 2014

Family and friends of Stephen McMilon, the man who was killed in an officer involved shooting Sunday, are grieving.

However they’re not the only ones dealing with the shooting. An officer who’s been in a similar situation, said it’s not easy on police either.

19 years with the Medford Police Department means Lieutenant Scott Clauson has seen a lot.

“I have been on duty for five or six different shootings in my career,” said Clauson.

Clauson said his last officer involved shooting was about seven years ago.

“Every once in a while I think about it,” he said.

But according to Clauson, it’s not always easy for cops to bounce back from a threatening situation where they felt they had to take action.

“The officers are real people,” began Clauson.

“It’s not like TV where they can come back to work and come back on shift an hour later,” he continued.

Clauson said officers often experience mixed emotions.

“From anger that they were placed in a situation where they had to take somebody’s life or injure somebody to second guessing,” Clauson said.

Police, wondering after the fact if they made the right call.

“I just recall in my situations that when that split second decision had to be made, it was my training and experience that came to the forefront of my mind and took over.”

That training, to eliminate a threat to themselves and others, is emphasized at MPD.  Clauson said officers hope it will kick in when they need it most.

“We have to protect each other and we are obligated and mandated to protect the public,” he said.

With that responsibility, hard decisions are often made in an instant. Police say they rely on their training and experience to deal with danger.

Health officials: You don’t have to struggle with PTSD

KOBI TV-5 Medford, August 26, 2014

The VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics in White City serves thousands of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Five-million Americans struggle with it every year.

But while Jackson County health officials said veterans are more likely to suffer from PTSD because of what they may have been exposed to during war, the disorder affects more than just veterans.

Health officials said PTSD can affect anyone as young as five years old who has been through a traumatic experience.

Symptoms include intrusive memories and nightmares that can affect you physically by making your heart race.

“It can really impact their life to the point where they struggle with daily functioning,” Jackson County Mental Health Clinical Operations Manager Rick Rawlins said. “It can impact their concentration, they can have a difficult time being able to focus. They can have a difficult time sleeping.”

Paranoia, hopelessness, and regret are also symptoms of PTSD. Health officials said if these symptoms don’t subside within a couple of days after the traumatic event it’s important to seek help right away.

If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD there are resources in the Rogue Valley. Jackson County Mental Health Services has a 24-hour crisis line that can be reached at (541)-774-8201.

The VA in White City has a PTSD clinic and resources for veterans struggling to get back into every day life. Their number is (541)-826-2111.

The national suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

Grand jury: McMilon shooting justified

KTVL.com, Sept. 12, 2014

A grand jury decided police officers were fully justified in shooting a Medford man on August 24, 2014. Jackson County’s District Attorney laid out more details of the deadly officer-involved shooting during a news conference Thursday.

At about 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 24, Stephen McMilon died after being shot by Medford Police. Jackson County D.A. Beth Heckert said the four officers involved and witnesses saw McMilon armed with a shotgun and handgun.

Testimonies to the Jackson County grand jury say McMilon was “holding the shotgun in a tactical style” while walking on Prune Street.

The grand jury heard testimonies of the officers telling McMilon to drop his weapon. Instead of complying, Heckert said McMilon pointed his shotgun at two officers. That’s when other officers opened fire.

“He did in fact point his gun at two different officers. And the officers that fired, were firing to protect a fellow officer. Not themselves.” Heckert said.

Heckert said evidence shows McMilon did not fire from his shotgun at the scene. Friends of McMilon say the retired Marine was suffering from mental health issues.

After hearing the testimonies of the officers and witnesses involved in the incident, Heckert said the grand jury deliberated for less than five minutes to make a decision. They said the Medford Police officers’ use of deadly physical force on McMilon was fully justified and in compliance with Oregon law.

An autopsy by Dr. James Olson showed McMilon was shot one time with a 40 caliber handgun. Deputy Medical Examiner Eric Fox was with Olson during the autopsy and testified to the grand jury.

“The bullet entered his body on his upper right back shoulder passing through both lungs and coming to a rest in the left arm pit.” Heckert said.

Officer Salvador Garcia testified to the grand jury he was 50 to 75 yards from McMilon when he fired his 40 caliber handgun. Another officer, Stephen Meador, fired two times from his AR-15 rifle at about the same time Officer Garcia did.

S. Ore.: police justified in fatal shooting

SFGate, Sept. 11, 2014

A southern Oregon grand jury says Medford police were justified in last month’s fatal shooting of an armed 52-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert said Thursday that despite previous reports that Stephen McMilon fired at least one round from his shotgun before police shot him on Aug. 24, physical evidence from the scene shows he never fired.

The Medford Mail Tribune reports (http://is.gd/J4z1Pn ) that Medford Police Chief Tim George says two police officers shot at McMilon a total of six times. The man was hit once. The officers say they believed he was about to open fire on another nearby officer.

The district attorney says McMilon had a shotgun, two handguns and was carrying more than 200 rounds of ammunition when he was killed in a church parking lot.

Friends say he served in the Gulf War. One friend, Linda Amble, said earlier that McMilon suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.