A Umatilla County grand jury has found Pendleton Police Officer Erik Palmer was justified in fatally shooting an armed man last week.
Palmer shot and killed Deveron Schreiner, 38, of La Grande, on June 26 in a downtown tanning business.
Umatilla County District Attorney Dean Gushwa said he presented evidence for about 90 minutes, and the jury deliberated for about two minutes.
The grand jury found Palmer's response to Schreiner's actions "justified and within the scope of his authority and Oregon law," Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts said in a news release.
Roberts also provided a breakdown of the events that led to the shooting.
At 9:24 a.m., a city/county dispatch warned Pendleton police officers Schreiner was a suspect in a series of burglaries near La Grande, where he may have stolen at least two firearms and an SUV. The dispatch also said Schreiner was possibly in the La Grande or Pendleton areas, he may have used illegal drugs and he had made statements about suicide.
Near noon, an Oregon State Police trooper spotted the SUV Schreiner may have stolen, in the 200 block of Southwest First Street. Pendleton police officers and OSP troopers quickly established a perimeter around the SUV while trying to get a photograph of Schreiner through dispatch.
Police called local bars and taverns within walking distance of the SUV to find out of Schreiner was in the area. Then police checked the SUV to see if the suspect was inside.
As Palmer and other police approached the SUV, Schreiner appeared in the doorway of The Face and Body Place, 221 S. Main St., near the parking lot.
Roberts said Schreiner was holding a semi-automatic Glock handgun in his right hand. Schreiner put the end of the gun against his right temple. Palmer told Schreiner to "drop the gun," but Schreiner refused to comply.
Then Schreiner turned, lowered the gun and pointed it at Palmer, Roberts said.
Palmer fired one round from his patrol rifle, striking Schreiner in the neck and killing him.
Police later found methamphetamine in Schreiner's clothes.
Gushwa described the shooting as "clearly justified."
"He was on drugs, he had a gun, and he said he was either going to kill himself or someone else," Gushwa said.
Palmer has been on administrative leave since the shooting. The Oregon State Police in cooperation with the Umatilla County Major Crimes Team and the district attorney's office conducted the criminal investigation.
Pendleton Police Department Lt. Mark Swanson is heading up an administrative investigation to make sure officers followed the department's policies and procedures. The department also is conducting a civil liability investigation to be ready for lawsuits.
Swanson also said another officer who was near Palmer at the moment of the shooting also is on administrative leave. That officer didn't fire a weapon, Swanson said, but witnessed the shooting.
Swanson also called the loss of Schreiner's life a tragedy, but he said Palmer really had no choice but to shoot.