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Grand Jury Decides Police Officer in Medford Shooting Was Justified

A grand jury took 10 minutes to deliberate before exonerating a Medford Police Officer for shooting and wounding William Shelton, accused of firing at officers.

Posted: Apr 4, 2018 5:57 PM
Updated: Apr 4, 2018 6:01 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — After a thorough investigation by Oregon State Police (OSP) and a mere 10 minutes of deliberation, a grand jury determined that Medford Police Officer T. Pickens was justified in shooting William Shelton on March 29, 2018. A statement from the office of Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert described the details of the investigation and the grand jury decision.

According to the DA's office, investigators found that two individuals had reported that they were threatened by a man with a firearm near 1039 Garfield Street in Medford on the afternoon of March 29. As officers responded to the area, the same caller dialed 911 again, this time reporting that there had been a shot fired.

Officers located the address and the suspect, identified as William Shelton. When Shelton was contacted by dispatch and officers at the scene, he refused to exit his duplex apartment.

As a precaution, officers took up positions to cover the doorway. Shelton, in communication with dispatch, announced that he would "protect his children and wife who were still in the residence, and complete the mission given to him by God," according to the DA's office.

CLICK HERE for our original story on the incident.

Somewhat later, Shelton exited his backdoor and fired a round off, before calling "warning shot...b****es..." Officers Pickens and Bridges, in position at the back of a nearby duplex, saw Shelton swing toward them. Both officers were displaying their badges and uniforms, according to the DA's statement.

Shelton had his firearm pointed at the officers, so Officer Pickens fired one round from his duty rifle, striking Shelton near the chest.

According to the DA's statement, the officers were wearing body cameras, but the footage was blocked by the cover in front of them. Audio recordings were unaffected.

Shelton held onto his weapon and yelled something at the officers before returning to his house through the back. Shelton fired one more round from inside the residence. Shortly after, Shelton emerged and was taken into custody. He was taken to Rogue Regional Medical Center for medical treatment, where he remained until he was discharged on April 1 and lodged at the Jackson County Jail.

The investigation found a bullet hole in Shelton's front door that lined up with a hole in a neighbor's window—nearby where MPD officers had been standing, trying to coax Shelton out.

After finding the two officers justified in their conduct, the grand jury also indicted Shelton on six charges of Attempted Assault in the First Degree and three charges of Unlawful Use of a Weapon (Firearm).

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