WHITE CITY, Ore. — A grand jury has cleared a Jackson County Sheriff's deputy of wrongdoing after he shot and injured a man while responding to a house party in White City early this month, according to the county District Attorney's office.
According to the DA's office narrative, JCSO deputy Trevor Waldeyer initially responded to 2537 Agate Meadows in White City for a parking violation, but he arrived to find a large gathering. The deputy went up to the front door and knocked, hearing an argument inside while he waited. When no-one answered the door, Waldeyer rang the doorbell.
Finally, someone pulled open the door. According to the DA's office, a man — later identified as Anthony James Hales — stood in the doorway wearing a red sweatshirt, red pants, and black body armor. Hales reportedly held a black rifle in his left hand, and stood with his back to the deputy.
"Anthony Hales then spun to his right, facing a second male, and brought the rifle up from his left side," the DA's office said. "Hales then grabbed the grip of the rifle with his right hand and began moving the rifle toward the second male."
The second man was later identified as Robert Hansen. The DA's office said that Hansen grabbed the rifle's barrel and began struggling with Hales for control of the gun. Waldeyer fell back to the right side of the doorway, yelling at the pair to stop.
Deputy Waldeyer fired a single shot — aiming at Hale's pelvis, according to the DA's office, because Hales was armored. Instead, the shot hit Hansen in the lower leg.
Waldeyer radioed to report "shots fired." The DA's office said that 13 seconds transpired between the door opening and Waldeyer's call.
"Deputy Waldeyer testified that he feared for his own life and also the life of Robert Hansen and other people in the house," the DA's office continued. "Waldeyer said he immediately realized that the weapon Anthony Hales had was a high-powered, high capacity rifle. Deputy Waldeyer also didn't believe his police vest would protect him from the high capacity rifle. There were no positions of cover on the front porch of the residence."
After shooting at the two men in the doorway, Waldeyer retreated to behind a vehicle parked in the driveway and began shouting commands. Hales later put the rifle down in the front yard and surrendered as more deputies arrived at the scene.
The rifle was an Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 rifle with an optic attached. Though it was loaded with 29 rounds in the magazine, the DA's office said that there was no round in the chamber when it was recovered by investigators.
During the investigation, police learned that guns and body armor were brought to the house that day for the filming of a rap video.
Hansen, who was hit by Waldeyer's bullet, was treated at the hospital for a gunshot wound and later released. He testified that he lives at the Agate Meadows house with some roommates, but "drank some alcohol and did not recall" what happened that day, the DA's office said. He said that he remembered standing in the doorway, but not struggling with Hales over the rifle.
After hearing the DA's case, the Jackson County grand jury found that Waldeyer's use of force was "fully justified" and in compliance with Oregon law. They also returned an indictment against Hales on charges of Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Menacing.