EUGENE, Ore. – The use of deadly force in a standoff in Eugene has been ruled justified, Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow said.
On April 13, SWAT was involved in a shooting at 113 Westbrook Way in south Eugene. Scott Gardner, 54, was shot twice, once each by two officers.
Gardner survived, and an investigation was conducted because of the use of deadly force, Perlow said.
The day before the incident, officers responded to a report of a suicidal suspect at the same address. Gardner was reported to be in his mother’s townhouse and armed with a shotgun. Neither were found at the residence upon arrival.
Perlow said there was probable cause to arrest Gardner for first-degree criminal mistreatment after learning that he had hit his 13-year-old son in the head.
Officers contacted Gardner that evening and he reportedly told police he would not leave and wanted to speak with an attorney. Perlow said Gardner was reportedly intoxicated. Police left with the intent to return the next day.
Gardner’s mother and son were provided with a hotel room for the night.
The events of the day of the shooting unfolded in the following way, according to Perlow’s report:
- Noon: Police return to the townhouse and eventually learn Gardner remains inside the home. Officers try to make contact.
- 4 p.m.: Gardner is seen inside the home.
- 5:20 p.m.: Negotiators reach Gardner by phone. Gardner is told to come out and that he is under arrest.
- 7 p.m. Gardner reportedly tells his sister he will be dead in 15 minutes.
- 8:30 p.m.: Police breach a first-floor rear sliding glass door and a robot is sent into the home. Shots are fired by Gardner inside the home with some rounds exiting the building from the second floor. Officers take cover and fire gas into the home. Gardner fires more rounds.
- 8:45 p.m.: The front door to the home is “explosively breached.” Less than 10 minutes later, more gas is fired into the home, and Gardner fires more rounds from inside.
- 11:30 p.m.: After ongoing negotiations throughout the incident, officers contact Gardner for the last time. Gardner asks to speak with an attorney. A recording from his attorney was played for him during the course of negotiations to get Gardner to surrender.
- 11:46 p.m. Gardner was seen on the robot cameras coming down the stairs armed with a rifle.
- 11:47 p.m. Officers Tyler Richards and Aaron Johns each fire a shot at Gardner as he steps into the open front door and begins to shoulder the rifle. Officers move him from the residence and medics provide aid. Gardner reportedly says, “Just kill me.”
Gardner was taken to RiverBend Hospital with significant lower abdomen injuries from two shots to his torso. The fingers on his right hand were also injured, Perlow said. At last check, Gardner is recovering.
Following the shooting, the Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team responded, and the rifle was found near the front door.
Perlow said Richards has been with the Eugene Police Department since 2011 and is a defensive marksman with the SWAT team. When Gardner came into view, “it became pretty apparent he was looking for targets,” according to Perlow's report.
Johns has been with the department since 1998 and is also a defensive marksman with the SWAT team. Perlow said Johns said he feared for his life, the lives of the other officers and nearby civilians.
Residents were interviewed about the incident, but there were no direct eye witnesses.
Criminal charges are pending against Gardner.