A Pendleton police officer shot a theft suspect who fled a confrontation and didn’t obey directions from police to drop a dark colored pistol Wednesday night near Walmart.
Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts said an ambulance took the male victim to St. Anthony Hospital, Pendleton, where he underwent surgery and was flown to Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland for further treatment. No officers were injured and the condition of the victim is unknown.
The officer who shot the man, who Roberts also did not immediately identify, is on an automatic 72-hour leave. Roberts said Oregon State Police would handle the investigation and release further information.
The shooting occurred around 8:45 p.m., near the busy intersection of Southwest 20th Street and Court Avenue in Pendleton. In a press release Thursday morning, Roberts said Walmart loss prevention employees described the man and when police approached him, he took off running through the parking lot. When police caught up to him on SW 20th Street the man didn’t obey verbal commands, according to the press release, and the officer fired.
Witnesses said they heard multiple shots, perhaps as many as seven or eight, but police haven’t released further details.
Medical supplies remained in the middle of the street just north of the access road to Taco Bell and the nearby Walmart on the west side and the parking lot of Walgreens on the east late Wednesday night.
Pendleton police, the Umatilla County sheriff’s deputies and Oregon State Police troopers all responded to the scene, along with Pendleton ambulances.
Monte Ludington, Umatilla County deputy district attorney, went to the scene in place of District Attorney Dan Primus, who is at the Oregon District Attorneys Association conference in Gleneden Beach.
The last officer-involved shooting in Pendleton police was in 2012. Roberts lamented even that infrequency is too often.
Check back for updates at www.eastoregonian.com as we gather more information.