ASHLAND, Ore.– A grand jury ruled the actions of the officers who opened fire on an Ashland man earlier this month were justified. District Attorney Beth Heckert made the announcement Thursday afternoon.
Earl C. Harris was shot to death at his home after officers attempted to serve an eviction notice. They said he went into his back bedroom and came out with a shotgun. Both officers said they were then forced to open fire.
Oregon law states that if an officer reasonably believes a suspect is going to use physical force against another officer or person, they may use deadly force against them. After hearing testimony from several witnesses, including the involved officers, the Grand Jury ruled them justified.
Officers also stated the number of encounters they had with Harris over the foreclosure. Harris and his wife took out a loan in 2006, but claims it was converted into a promissory note without his knowledge. Harris filed several documents to try to contest the foreclosure for a couple years.
In March of 2013, the property became property of the bank and Harris was ordered to evacuate no later than May 17, 2014. Police said the foreclosure was one of many incidents they had with Harris, and it was not the first time a firearm was involved. This called for extra caution in June when officers responded to serve an eviction notice.