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Police: Custody Dispute Led to Shooting at Eugene School

Eugene police say students at Cascade Middle School are safe after a suspect was shot on campus Friday morning.

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 12:04 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2019 2:54 PM

EUGENE, Ore. —

UPDATE: An officer-involved shooting in Eugene happened after police responded to a reported custody dispute involving a man at Cascade Middle School at about 10:27 a.m. Friday, according to the Eugene Police Department.

As officers were escorting the man from the school, he produced a firearm and a struggle ensued.

During the struggle, officers shot the suspect. The man — who has not yet been identified — was pronounced dead at the scene. The altercation and shooting took place outside of the building on school grounds, police said.

Witnesses described seeing a body covered by a yellow tarp outside of the school following the shooting. 

Police said students, staff and officers are safe and unharmed, and police remain at the scene.

During the incident, the school initiated lockout procedures, and students will remain at the school until 3 p.m. Police urge residents to avoid the area and roadways near the school to keep them free for emergency responders.

The Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team has been called in and is investigating.

(Updated 1/11/19 at 2 p.m.)

INITIAL REPORT: The Eugene Police Department says that students at Cascade Middle School are safe after a suspect was shot on Friday morning.

One witness said they heard what sounded like five gunshots. Police and paramedics were on the scene shortly after 11 a.m., though the circumstances of what brought them to the location remains unclear at this time.

Crime scene tape was visible along the front side of the school on Echo Hollow Road.

The school's website said its doors were locked and that they were keeping students in their classrooms at the request of Eugene Police. All students are reportedly safe and unharmed — but the students were told to remain in their classrooms until issued further instructions.

Kevin Ropchan said that his wife, Mandy Ropchan, who works in the kitchen, texted him just before 11 a.m. to say that there was a shooter in the building.

A man whose daughter is at nearby Willamette High School said she texted him telling him they were on lockdown, and they had barricaded the doors to her classroom.

Malabon Elementary School was also on lockdown earlier in the day.

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