Oregon Law Enforcement Deaths and Illegal Guns

An Everytown for Gun Safety analysis of FBI data over the last 30 years shows that more than half of Oregon police officers shot to death with guns that were not their own were killed by people who were likely barred from possessing firearms.

To conduct the analysis, Everytown obtained the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) database covering felonious deaths of law enforcement from 1980 to 2011 and updated it with additional incidents from press clippings. For all incidents in which an officer was killed with a firearm that was not his or her own, Everytown identified the assailant and then researched state and federal criminal records and contemporaneous newspaper records to determine if the individual was prohibited by law from possessing firearms.

Two-thirds of Oregon law enforcement intentionally killed in the line of duty between 1980 and 2014 were killed with guns. Of the 9 Oregon law enforcement officers shot to death during this period with firearms that were not their own, at least 5 — 56 percent — were killed by individuals who were likely prohibited from possessing firearms.

Police are at the front line of gun violence, and no single policy can completely ensure their safety—but strong gun laws that reduce the flow of guns to criminals can help save lives. Loopholes in Oregon’s current laws make it all too easy for dangerous people who are prohibited from possessing guns to dodge a background check and buy a gun from an unlicensed seller. Expanding background checks to cover all gun sales—including those online—will protect cops. In states that require background checks for every gun sale, police are 48 percent less likely to be killed with handguns.Everytown for Gun Safety, State Background Check Requirements and Rates of Firearm Homicide Against Law Enforcement, January 2015, available at http://etresearch.wpengine.com/state-background-check-requirements-and-firearm-homicide-against-law-enforcement/



September 14, 2002 | Curtin: Korry Lee Jones, 36, shot and killed Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Morris Taylor with a rifle. Taylor was responding to a call regarding public indecency at a motel when Jones confronted him. Both were killed in the ensuing gunfight. Jones was prohibited from possessing firearms: In 1992, he was convicted of possessing methamphetamine in Douglas County, Oregon. In addition to being sentenced to 90 days in jail, the court ordered Jones to “neither own, possess nor control any firearm or any other specified weapon.” And in 2001, Jones pled guilty to resisting arrest, escape, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and fourth degree assault for stealing a police car and assaulting four Lane County Sheriff’s deputies; and again, in addition to three years in prison, he was ordered not to possess firearms as part of his sentence.Court of Appeals of the State of Oregon, “Taylor v. Lane County,” Justia, last modified July 5, 2007, http://bit.ly/1EqKUJJ.

January 27, 1998 | Portland: Stephen Douglas Dons, 37, shot and killed Officer Colleen Ann Waibel of the Portland Police Department with an SKS assault rifle as she attempted to arrest Dons for operating a marijuana-growing operation. Waibel and another officer bashed in his front door and were shot as they came down his hallway. Inside Dons’ home, police found an arsenal of weapons that included shotguns, rifles, handguns, and a homemade grenade launcher. News reports indicate Dons has an extensive criminal record in Las Vegas and had been convicted of obstructing a police officer, resisting arrest, resisting a police officer, battery with a deadly weapon, using a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime, and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.David R. Anderson, “Friend: Dons Thought Police Were Would-Be Killers Shooting,” The Oregonian (Portland, OR), February 6, 1998

July 20, 1997 | Portland: Eufronio “Antonio” Hernandez, 20, shot and killed Officer Thomas L. Jeffries of the Portland Police Department with a .38-caliber semiautomatic handgun. Hernandez had been arguing with his girlfriend and had fled after shooting and injuring her and a seven-year-old boy. Jeffries spotted Hernandez’s car and tried to force it to stop, at which point Hernandez shot and killed Jeffries. Hernandez came to Oregon in early 1995 from Oaxaca, Mexico and lacked proper documentation; he was prohibited from possessing firearms due to his immigration status.Laura Trujillo, “Grand Jury Gets Evidence in Slaying of Police Officer,” The Oregonian (Portland, OR), July 30, 1997.

September 30, 1992 | Klamath Falls: Francisco Manzo-Hernandez, 30, shot and killed Senior Trooper Bret Robert Clodfelter of the Oregon State Police with a .38-caliber handgun. Clodfelter had just arrested a drunk driver whose passengers included Hernandez and another man, both of whom were also intoxicated. Clodfelter volunteered to drive the pair home to prevent them from driving drunk. While they were driving, Hernandez shot Coldfelter twice in the back of the head. Hernandez had a long criminal history that included a felony conviction for manufacturing narcotics, a crime that prohibited him from possessing firearms.“Fallen Trooper Bret R. Clodfelter,” Oregon State Police Memorial, accessed January 29, 2015, http://bit.ly/1A3Zxks.

May 22, 1980 | Knappa: Michael Sture, 23, shot and killed Sergeant James Shepherd of the Oregon State Police with a rifle. Shepherd was investigating reports of a marijuana grow operation when Sture shot him twice as Shepherd approached his hideout. Sture fled the area but was later captured while attempting to hitchhike in Eastern Oregon. At the time of the shooting, Sture was out on parole after having been sentenced to five years for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a crime that prohibited him from possessing firearms.Lori Tobias, “Parole Board to Review Life Sentence of Man Who Killed Oregon State Police Sergeant,” The Oregonian (Portland, OR), November 24, 2009, http://bit.ly/1zeqm4f.



November 4, 2013 | Oregon City: Lawrence Cambra, 88, shot and killed Officer Robert Libke of the Oregon City Police Department with a revolver. Libke had confronted Cambra outside Cambra’s burning home, which police believe Cambra intentionally set on fire. Cambra then shot and killed himself with the same weapon. Though Cambra’s girlfriend had filed a restraining order against him that prohibited firearm possession a year prior to the shooting, she dismissed the order two weeks later. Cambra had no other prohibiting criminal history.“Medical Examiner: Oregon City Gunman Committed Suicide,” Fox 12 Oregon, November 5, 2013, http://bit.ly/1v5UpeC.

April 22, 2011 | Eugene: Cheryl Kidd, 56, shot and killed Officer Chris Kilcullen of the Eugene Police Department as he attempted to pull over Kidd for speeding and reckless driving. Kidd fired a single shot from a .38-caliber handgun, hitting the officer in the chest. Although Kidd was a diagnosed schizophrenic, she was never adjudicated mentally defective before a judge and therefore not prohibited from possessing guns. Following the shooting, a Lane County Circuit judge declared Kidd mentally unfit to stand trial and committed her to a state mental hospital.Aimee Green, “Wife of Eugene Police Officer Who Was Shot to Death Files $5.75 Million Lawsuit,” The Oregonian, April 18, 2013, http://bit.ly/1AbLswj.

December 17, 1984 | Brookings: Nathan Klinefelter, 58, shot and killed Curry County Deputy Sheriff David Eugene Foster as Foster was investigating a report of a domestic disturbance at Klinefelter’s home. As the officer was walking towards Klinefelter’s trailer, Klinefelter shot Foster once in the chest with a high-powered rifle. Though Klinefelter admitted to punching his wife multiple times the morning of the shooting, he lacked a criminal history prohibiting him from possessing firearms.State of Oregon v. Nathan Ira Klinefelter, No. F84-12-201, (Curry County District Court) April 23, 1987.

March 6, 1982 | Granite: Adeline Hollemon, 65, shot and killed Deputy Sheriff Edward A. “Bud” Morrow of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department with a hunting rifle. Morrow was also the Mayor of the small town. Hollemon had previously fought with Morrow and arranged to ambush him at a remote cabin. Though she was twice declared mentally unfit for trial, Hollemon was eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. She had no reported prohibiting criminal history.“Adeline Hollemon Sentenced to Life in Prison for Mayor’s Murder,” Associated Press (Bend, OR), December 29, 1986, http://bit.ly/1KdBCzh.