MEDFORD, Ore. — The Jackson County Sheriff's Office deputy who shot a suspected drug dealer during a struggle outside of Dairy Queen in White City last month was "fully justified" in the use of lethal force, a grand jury determined on Thursday.
The grand jury also returned on indictment for the suspect, 35-year-old Terril Boss, on ten charges — including multiple charges for drug possession and delivery, attempted assault in the first degree, unlawful use of a weapon, and resisting arrest.
According to evidence presented by the Jackson County District Attorney's office, JCSO officers Sgt. Scow and Deputy Waldeyer responded to the Dairy Queen parking lot on the night of July 21 after being contacted by a detective with the Medford Area Drug and Gang Unit (MADGE).
The MADGE detective said that Boss was at the parking lot, and an informant reported that Boss had "a large quantity of drugs," a gun, and was wanted in another state. The detective asked Sgt. Scow to check and see if two vehicles associated with Boss — a truck and a motorcycle — were at the Dairy Queen.
When the JCSO officers arrived at the scene, they saw the two vehicles and a man, later identified as Boss, working on the motorcycle. Both officers approached Boss and began talking with him, according to the DA's office.
"After consulting with the MADGE detective, who was going to be in route to the location, Sgt. Scow told Terril Boss police had received information there were controlled substances in the vehicle and Terril Boss was not free to leave," the DA's office said.
Deputy Waldeyer began patting Boss down to check for weapons, and Boss reportedly insisted that he was not armed. When Waldeyer tried to put Boss' hands behind his back, the suspect "started to struggle," the DA's office said. Boss then told the officers that he did have a weapon. When Waldeyer asked where the weapon was, Boss "began to struggle more and reached for something in his waistband."
Both officers began scuffling with Boss as they tried to place him in handcuffs, with Boss allegedly reaching repeatedly toward his waistband. Finally, the DA's office said, Sgt. Scow and Boss went to the ground, and Boss pulled the gun free from his waistband.
"Upon seeing Terril Boss pull his firearm out of his waistband, Deputy Waldeyer shot Terril Boss twice," the DA's office said. "As soon as Terril Boss no longer had the firearm, lifesaving aid was rendered and he was transported to the hospital where he is recovering from gunshot wounds."
Investigators later recovered a loaded Springfield .45 caliber pistol from the scene. According to the DA's office, Boss had a holster on his belt. A search of the vehicles found a "large quantity" of heroin and methamphetamine.
Boss remains in the hospital, though he was technically arrested and arraigned remotely earlier this week with bail set at $500 thousand, plus $250 thousand for a fugitive complaint.
"Jackson County requires a grand jury make the determination as to whether the officer's use offorce was justified under Oregon law," the DA's office said. "The Grand Jury determined the involved officer. Deputy Waldeyer, was fully justified in his use of lethal force and in compliance with Oregon law."