‘He would have killed me’: DA rules Oakridge officer was justified in shooting

“This didn’t look like a suicide in progress. This looked like a murder to me,” Davidson said of the scene.

Posted: Nov 1, 2019 11:21 AM
Updated: Nov 1, 2019 12:10 PM

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- An Oakridge officer acted properly when he shot and killed a man last month, officials said on Friday morning.

Steve Davidson was identified as the officer who killed Marcus Hartsfield on the night of Oct. 17.


Marcus Hartsfield

Davidson said he responded to the 76000 block of Rainbow Street around 7:30. The 911 calls initially reported that a man was harming himself, but bystanders told Davidson a man was inside a shop on the property and was "killing" people.

“Hurry! He’s in there! He’s killing them!” they told Davidson.

Davidson had a civilian rider at the time.

When the officer entered the building, he said Hartsfield was fighting with three other people, all of them covered with blood.

RELATED: POLICE IDENTIFY MAN KILLED IN OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING IN OAKRIDGE

“This didn’t look like a suicide in progress. This looked like a murder to me,” Davidson said of the scene.

Officials said that at some point, Hartsfield charged at Davidson with a razor blade. Davidson fired three times, hitting Hartsfield twice in the chest and once in the face.

A toxicology report confirmed Hartsfield had methamphetamine in his system.

Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow said the shooting was a “lawful use of force.”

She said the incident began when Hartsfield barged into the residence and began punching a boy before grabbing a girl and slamming her head into the wall, putting holes through the sheetrock.

Hartsfield then reportedly pulled out a razor blade, sliced it across his forearms and across his throat. He forced the girl’s hands into the open wounds, asking, “Do you love me?”

Perlow said in the report that if Davidson had not had his gun drawn when Hartsfield charged him, he would not have been able to draw it in time to prevent Hartsfield from closing in.

If he had not used deadly force, Davidson said: “Oh, without a doubt in my mind, he would have killed me and then he would have killed the person he was there to kill.”

Following the shooting, Hartsfield’s father, Ronald Hartsfield, arrived on scene and became physically aggressive with Davidson, Perlow said. The man refused commands to stay back, so Davidson used his Taser in attempts to gain control of the scene and detained him. Hartsfield’s mother refused to step away, preventing Davidson from immediately rendering aid.

Medics declined to enter as Davidson reported not having control of the scene.

Hartsfield was pronounced dead at 8:06 p.m.

Perlow said Davidson was the sole officer on scene for 20 minutes during a “dangerous, chaotic scene.”

The Interagency Deadly Force Investigative Team took control of the scene and investigation.

Detectives from Oregon State Police, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Eugene Police Department, Springfield Police Department, Cottage Grove Police Department and Florence Police Department responded to the scene.

Davidson, a senior officer, has been with the Oakridge department since December 2013.

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