Oregon

Oregon troopers, deputy justified in deadly shooting along Hwy 22, grand jury finds

OREGON – A Marion County Grand Jury ruled that three state troopers and a deputy were justified in shooting and killing an armed robbery suspect after a chase along Highway 22 earlier this month.

The law enforcement officers fatally shot 27-year-old Brad Masters on December 8.

Masters was accused of robbing both a Dutch Brothers and a Dominoes location in Bend, Oregon at gunpoint before stealing a car from one of the pizza shop employees, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office said.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office pursued Masters, who sped off west along Highway 22 toward the Santiam Pass. They called off the chase near Suttle Lake, but issued a “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) for other nearby law enforcement.

Linn County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Rathelegurche heard the BOLO, set up at a curve in the road and waited for Masters with a spike strip. Masters reportedly drove over the spike strip, but it also flattened the tires of a pursuing Marion County deputy’s vehicle. That deputy was unhurt, and Dep. Rathelegurche picked up the pursuit.

Oregon State Police troopers Caleb Yoder, Michael Iacob, Joseph Sousa also heard the BOLO and waited for the suspect at Big Cliff Dam. They deployed another spike strip, which Masters again drove over. He continued to drive on the vehicle’s rims, which slowed him down considerably.

All four pursuing law enforcement officers formed a ‘diamond pattern’ around his vehicle with their patrol cars, the district attorney’s office said, and ordered him to stop over a loudspeaker.

Masters eventually stopped several miles east of the town of Gates, got out of his car, walked to the center of the road, and ignored commands from police.

He ignored law enforcement’s commands to “put your hands up!” Instead, he raised both hands in a shooter stance towards the officers, and then bladed his body, dropping one arm while firing at the officers.

All four officers returned fire, shooting a combined 16 rounds. Masters was hit three times and pronounced dead at the scene. None of the officers were injured.

Salem police later confirmed that Masters had a BB pellet gun.

A toxicology report from the Oregon State Deputy Medical Examiner found he had amphetamines and cocaine in his system.

A grand jury in Marion County unanimously found the law enforcement officers were justified in the deadly use of force, specifically based on four things, the district attorney’s office said.

  • Brad Tyler Masters had committed and attempted to commit felonies involving the use or threatened use of physical force against a person;
  • Deadly physical force was necessary to defend a peace officer or another person from the use or threatened imminent use of deadly physical force;
  • Brad Tyler Masters had committed felonies or attempted to commit felonies and under the totality of the circumstances existing at the time and place, the use of such force was justified, and;
  • The officer’s life or personal safety was endangered in the particular circumstances involved.

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