MEDFORD, Ore. — A grand jury has decided that a Medford Police officer's shooting of a knife-wielding man during an encounter in September was justified under Oregon law, according to a statement from the Jackson County District Attorney's office.
The shooting happened on September 22, when officers responded to the home of 55-year-old Steven Myers after a family member reported that Myers planned to harm himself. One Medford Police officer shot Myers while two others deployed their tasers after Myers came at them holding a knife, the agency said at the time.
Myers was taken to the hospital and survived the encounter.
The DA's office identified the three MPD officers immediately involved as Officer E. Hull, Officer J. Baglietto, and Corporal J. Schilder — all veteran officers with "Critical Incident Training" (CIT). Schilder, who fired the shot at Myers, is the most experienced of the three and serves as CIT Regional Instructor.
According to the DA's office, Myers' daughter called dispatch for a welfare check shortly before 10 a.m. on September 22. She said that her and her father had been in an argument several days before, and she'd been trying to get a hold of him ever since. That morning, she told police, she received a text from her father telling her "goodbye."
"Ms. Myers was worried and rushed to her father's address at 162 Seroba Circle, and found the gate to his duplex stuck. When she discovered the stuck gate, she called 9-1-1," the DA's office said.
Officer Baglietto was first to arrive at the scene, and found the gate stuck with "piece of wood jammed in the latch." When Corporal Schilder arrived, the two were able to open the gate and went to the front door of Myers' apartment.
"Both officers went to the front door and knocked and announced several times, trying to get Mr. Myers to answer the door," the DA's statement said. "Officer Baglietto tried the door handle and it fell off."
As more MPD officers arrived at the scene, they tried to pick the deabolted door while working to get a window open. When they were able to pull the curtains back, they reported seeing a "blood trail" going down the hallway of Myers' apartment.
As police and firefighters got the door open, they found Myers standing at the end of the hallway, "covered in dried blood." The DA's office said that firefighters were stuck in the cramped fenced area outside, and took cover wherever they could find it.
"Corporal Schilder, who had his firearm drawn, started giving Mr. Myers commands to show his hands," the DA's office said. "Mr. Myers put his left arm in the air, but he kept his right-hand concealed behind his back."
When Schilder spotted a knife in Myers' right hand and announced it to the other officers, Myers began advancing, the DA's office said.
"Corporal Schilder, Officer Baglietto and Officer Baines all started trying to create space by backing up in the yard, as Mr. Myers continued advancing with a knife in his right-hand," the DA's office said. "Mr. Myers continued out the front door of the residence still holding the knife. Almost simultaneously, Corporal Schilder fired one shot from his handgun believing Mr. Myers posed a deadly threat to himself, the other officers, and Medford Fire personnel. Officers Hull and Baglietto discharged their tasers."
Schilder's shot hit Myers in the stomach, stopping his advance. Firefighters and paramedics started treating the man's wounds as soon as he was detained.
Myers was taken to Rogue Regional Medical Center for treatment of the gunshot wound and several self-inflicted cuts and stabs to his wrists, neck, and stomach.
On Wednesday the grand jury heard testimony from witnesses, viewed body cam footage, saw photographs and a diagram of Myers' building. They were then asked to decide whether Schilder's use of deadly force was justified, and if Myers should face criminal charges for the incident.
"The grand jury found that the actions of the involved officers in this case were justified and in compliance with Oregon Law," the DA's office concluded. "The grand jury also returned an indictment against Steven Craig Myers for a single count of Unlawful Use of a Weapon and four counts of Menacing. Mr. Myers will be cited into court for arraignment on the indictment."