DA: Officer-involved shooting at Cascade Middle School was justified

Lane County District Attorney Patricia Perlow determined that the officer-involved shooting at Cascade Middle School earlier this month was legally justified.

Posted: Jan. 24, 2019 2:57 PM
Updated: Jan. 25, 2019 12:04 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The officer-involved shooting outside Cascade Middle School earlier this month was legally justified, Lane County District Attorney Patricia Perlow said.

Perlow said the involved officer's use of deadly force against Charles Landeros on Jan. 11 was self-defense and defense of others. She said the decision was based on the investigation submitted by the Inter-Agency Deadly Force Investigative Team, which included videos, witness interviews and evidence.

RELATED: OSP identifies person shot & killed by police outside Cascade Middle School

Landeros enrolled their child at the school the week of the incident, Perlow said. The child started school Jan. 10, and Landeros did not provide the school with information about the child's mother, who shares custody and lives in the area. The following day, the mother went to the school to see if the child was enrolled there. School personnel called the school resource officer and said Landeros had been contacted and was on his way, as well.

When Resource Officer Steve Timm with Eugene police arrived and learned of the custody dispute, he called for assistance. Aaron Johns, another school resource officer, responded. Timm met with the mother, and they reviewed the court documents she brought with her to the school -- a copy of divorce and custody paperwork from 2013. 

Timm separately met with Landeros and told him that the paperwork indicated that the mother had exclusive control over where the child attends school. Perlow said the conversation was respectful, but Timm was concerned about Landeros being present if the mother were to take her child out of the school, so they asked Landeros to leave. 

According to the document, Landeros was cooperating but stopped in the hallway, saying police didn't have jurisdiction and only the principal could ask them to leave. Timm told Landeros that he did have that authority, and Landeros grew agitated. 

Johns was escorting Landeros out of the building and told them they would be arrested if they didn't leave. At this point, the child arrived in the hallway by coincidence, and Landeros yelled at them to "go" multiple times. 

Landeros was physically removed from the building and told they were under arrest. Both officers said they believed they had probable cause to make an arrest for disorderly conduct and trespass. 

There were students in the hallway and in a nearby classroom.

Perlow said video of the incident shows the attempt to make an arrest, Landeros struggling with Johns and pushing back at him and Timm assisting Johns with taking Landeros into custody. She said Landeros drew a 9mm firearm from a holster on his right hip and pointed it at Timm, who yelled that Landeros had a gun. Johns continued to struggle with Landeros to gain control of the gun. 

When Landeros pointed the gun at Timm a second time, he fired two bullets and Johns yelled for help, Perlow said in her report. Timm fired a bullet that hit the pavement before firing a bullet directly at Landeros, striking them in the temple and killing them. Perlow said the officers feared for their lives and those of the nearby bystanders.

Perlow said two eye witnesses confirmed that Landeros drew their weapon and fired first. Their child also witnessed the incident.

Below is Perlow's full report:

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