MEDFORD, Ore. — The officers involved in a deadly exchange of gunfire outside of an Eagle Point church in February have been cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, according to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.
The incident began on the night of February 23 when Eagle Point Police officers began responding to reports of a domestic disturbance on Idlewood Drive. The DA's office said that EPPD officer Donny Jordan had arrived in the area and was waiting for backup when dispatch reported that one of the people involved in the domestic was leaving the house on Idlewood.
"There was some conflicting information if the person was leaving in a Tahoe or Durango vehicle," the DA's office said. "Within a short period of time, a tan Tahoe drove by Officer Jordan's location."
Officer Jordan pulled the Tahoe driver over, stopping in the parking lot of Church on the Hill where Idlewood meets E Main Street and Stevens Road. Walking up to the vehicle, the officer explained the reason for the stop to the two men inside the vehicle, but both denied being involved in a domestic dispute.
Meanwhile, officers from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office started arriving at the scene. Dispatch advised the officers that the man involved was named "Dale," and that there was a gun in the vehicle. Both men initially denied that either of them was named Dale.
According to the DA's office, JCSO Corporal Chad Prins recognized the passenger in the vehicle, who finally provided a full name, confirming that his first name was Dale.
"At that time, the passenger, Dale Amstutz-Dunn, reached across the driver and fired at Corporal Prins," the DA's office said. "The shot struck Corporal Prins in the chest. Fortunately, the ballistic vest kept the bullet from penetrating. Corporal Prins was able to remain on his feet."
The officers ran for cover and pulled out their weapons, with several of them firing toward Amstutz-Dunn. There was a brief exchange of gunfire between several of the officers and the suspect.
The DA's office said that the driver of the Tahoe, Adam Hackworth, got out of the vehicle and laid down on the ground before crawling toward the officers at their command. Amstutz-Dunn was found unresponsive after more officers arrived on the scene. He was eventually taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Hackworth had been shot in the arm, and was also taken to the hospital. The DA's office said that he is recovering from the injury.
Officer Jordan's body cam was on throughout the encounter, the DA's office said, though the Sheriff's Office deputies did not activate their cameras until after the shooting.
Hackworth testified to the grand jury that Amstutz-Dun had kicked in the door of the house on Idlewood and held several people at gunpoint prior to the deadly shooting until someone was able to call police.
Amstutz-Dunn had recently been released after a lengthy prison sentence and was acting "paranoid and aggressive" prior to the shooting, one victim testified. He allegedly made statements indicating that he preferred getting into a shoot-out with police to going back to prison.
Investigators also learned that Amstutz-Dunn was wanted in connection with a shooting in Keizer, Oregon, and had an active federal warrant for a probation violation.
Though Amstutz-Dunn did have a wound to his foot apparently caused by officers returning fire, the doctor who performed his autopsy concluded that he'd turned his 9mm pistol on himself, resulting in his fatal wound to the head.
"In Jackson County, a grand jury is required to review incidents where law enforcement use deadly physical force, and make the determination as to whether the officers' use of force was justified under Oregon law. The review is conducted even when the Officers use of deadly force did not cause a death," the DA's office said.
After hearing from 13 witnesses, the grand jury deliberated for less than 10 minutes before announcing that all of the officers involved were justified under Oregon law.