Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced that he would not pursue any criminal charges against the deputy who was involved in a shooting in October.
In a press conference on Friday, Hummel said the decision by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Jones to shoot Brandon Berrett as he attempted to flee officers was authorized by Oregon law. According to Hummel, his investigation into the October 12th incident yielded evidence that Barrett was driving a vehicle in a way that was a danger to the officers involved and the general public.
A Deschutes County Grand Jury returned an Indictment charging Barrett with Escape in the First Degree, Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Driving While Suspended, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer, Driving under the Influence of Intoxicants, and Interfering with a Peace Officer. His first court hearing will be on December 10, 2018.
On Friday Hummel’s office also released this statement:
“Brandon Berrett’s decision to attempt to escape from sheriff’s deputies who were attempting to arrest him constituted a crime. However, the mere fact of committing a crime should never, standing alone, result in a person being shot by law enforcement. Mr. Berrett’s decision to drive a car in a dangerous manner toward Deputy Jones and his ride along, Corrections Deputy Lewis, is what resulted in shots being fired. Fortunately for all involved, Deputy Jones and Corrections Deputy Lewis were unharmed, and Brandon Berrett, while shot, survived and is recovering.”
However, during his press conference Hummel did say that he had some concerns about the decisions made by the officers on the scene prior to the shooting. Deschutes County Sheriff L. Shane Nelson said the department would be conducting their own investigation of the situation and adjusting officer training accordingly.
At the time of the press conference deputy Jones was still on paid leave, which is standard procedure after an officer involved shooting. The other officers who were on the scene but did not fire their weapons were working as normal.