By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Oregon State Police on Wednesday released the dramatic dash and body-cam video of a recent trooper-involved shootout near Klamath Falls that left one trooper injured and the suspect dead.
The incident happened on April 10th after deputies from the Klamath Falls Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic disturbance report. The initial report was that an intoxicated man was trying to take his children, according to an OSP press release.
When deputies arrived, the man, identified as Matthew Brennon Goff, was no longer on the scene, prompting an attempt-to-locate a white SUV Goff was driving.
Dispatch advised the man was possibly drunk and there was a 6-year-old child inside. Deputies were also advised the suspect had an AK-47 rifle.
A short time later an Oregon State Police trooper observed the SUV and a pursuit began near Biehn Street and Crater Lake Parkway, then traveling north on Hwy 97, OSP said.
Units from the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon State Police were involved as the vehicle attempted to get away.
Deputies deployed a spike strip on Hwy 97 and the SUV was eventually brought to a stop on Wocus Road. Goff got out of the SUV and fired numerous shots at the officers, who immediately returned fire.
“Goff was armed with an AR-15 style weapon and was in possession of a total of 10 fully-loaded magazines and more than 250 rounds of ammunition,” according to a letter from a Klamath County Grand Jury clearing the involved officers. “Goff fired at least 36 rounds into three vehicles occupied by Troopers (Justin) Henrick, Gordon and Torres and Deputies (Maria) Gray and Petersen. Trooper Gordon was struck. Deputy Gray and Trooper Henrick returned fire. Goff was struck and officers attempted to administer life-saving measures.”
The suspect was declared dead at the scene. The child was unharmed.
“Law enforcement continually places their lives at risk when responding to volatile domestic disturbances. Unfortunately, there are times when a suspect’s behaviors and interactions with law enforcement force officers to use deadly force for their own safety and/or the safety of others,” the Grand Jury statement said. “At such times, an officer is justified in using deadly force. Trooper Justin Henrick and Deputy Maria Gray were confronted with such a scenario.”
In a statement Wednesday, OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton looked forward to welcoming back Trooper Gordon and the others involved in the incident.
He said the in-car and body camera footage underscores the dangers faced by officers as they patrol the state’s communities.
“I don’t think I’m alone when I admit my heart skipped a beat when I first viewed this video,” Hampton said. “I credit the professionalism and remarkable bravery of the Oregon State Police Troopers and Klamath County Deputy Sheriffs that brought this violent event to end.”
The Oregon State Police would like to thank the community of Klamath Falls for the outpouring of support, especially the medical professionals that cared for the injured trooper.