Deschutes Co. DA clears deputy who fired shots during Christmas night traffic stop

Deschutes County DA John Hummel has cleared a Sheriff’s Office Deputy who returned fire on a suspected drunk driver during a traffic stop near La Pine on Christmas night.

Nobody was injured in the shooting, which involved 29-year-old James Lamkin and Deputies Evan Kennedy and Anthony Ramos.

“Mr. Lamkin’s decision to shoot his gun in the direction of Deputy Kennedy was dangerous, reckless, and rightfully resulted in Deputy Ramos shooting at him,” Hummel said during an afternoon press conference. “Deputy Ramos’ marksmanship was impressive, as from a distance of approximately 30 yards, in the dark, with a handgun as opposed to a rifle, six of his eight shots struck the immediate area of the driver’s compartment of Mr. Lamkin’s truck.”

Hummel determined Ramos was justified in his actions and no criminal charges will be filed.

According to the decision handed down by Hummel Friday, the incident started around 5:45 p.m. on Christmas when Ramos heard on his radio that Kennedy initiated a traffic stop of a suspected drunk driver and the driver was not stopping. The driver turned out to be Lamkin.

Ramos heard Kennedy radio that Lamkin had stopped his pickup truck, that he had a gun, and that he was not cooperating, Hummel said. Ramos turned on to Dyke Road northwest of La Pine and traveled east until he saw Lamkin’s pickup truck stopped in front of Kennedy’s patrol vehicle.

Deputy Anthony Ramos (L) with Sheriff Shane Nelson, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page

Hummel said Ramos stopped about 30 yards from the front end of Lamkin’s truck, got out of his patrol vehicle, a Sheriff’s Office marked pickup, and moved to the passenger side of his patrol vehicle so he could use his vehicle as cover. Ramos had his handgun drawn, Hummel said, and once out of his patrol vehicle, Ramos heard Kennedy shouting commands to Lamkin to get out of his truck.

While giving his commands, Kennedy was out of his patrol vehicle, a Sheriff’s Office marked SUV, approximately 15 feet behind the driver’s side window of Lamkin’s truck, Hummel said. After Kennedy ordered Lamkin to get out of his truck, Hummel said Ramos saw Lamkin extend his arm out of the driver’s side window of his truck and fire multiple rounds from his handgun.

Hummel said Ramos believed Lamkin was shooting at Kennedy so Ramos immediately began firing his handgun at Lamkin.

The shooting happened around  7 p.m. Lamkin fired a total of seven rounds, Hummel said. Ramos fired eight rounds.

Hummel said the majority of rounds fired by Lamkin struck the road or snow berm to the left of the driver’s side window. Another round traveled about 60 yards and struck a fence nearby.

Hummel said Lamkin was not struck by Ramos’ rounds because he was slumped down and to the left in his seat while he was firing his rounds.

Lamkin was charged with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of menacing, attempting to elude, driving under the influence and other charges.

The full text of Hummel’s decision can be read here.

 

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