Oregon State Police and local law enforcement just issued this final account of the last few seconds of the life of the shooter at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg last week:
The Oregon State Police was given the task of investigating the Officer Involved shooting at UCC.
Senate Bill 111 requires when deadly physical force is used by police officers that a separate agency investigate the incident.
The Oregon State Police concluded the investigation and presented the information to Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. The following information was provided by DA Rick Wesenberg:
I have reviewed the facts of the case. I have determined the deadly physical force used by the officers against the shooter was justified. I would like to provide the following details pertaining to the investigation:
At 10:38 AM Douglas County Emergency Communication received the first 911 call that an active shooter was at UCC.
From witness statements and 911 calls, moments before, the shooter had entered the classroom and began shooting students.
Detective Sergeant Joe Kaney and Detective Todd Spingath from Roseburg Police Department heard the dispatched call and responded from approximately 5 miles away.
Two Troopers from the Roseburg OSP office also responded and all four officers arrived on the campus at 10:44 AM. Upon the arrival of the police officers they heard a volley of shots. The police officers witnessed the shooter in the doorway.
Sergeant Kaney and Detective Spingath were in plain clothes they were not wearing their bullet proof vests as they exited their vehicle. The police officers ran towards the sound of gunfire and attempted to gain a better vantage point of the shooter. Sergeant Kaney and Detective Spingath knew there were at least 35 students in one of the classrooms and knew if they shot they risked the chance of shooting innocent people.
Sergeant Kaney and Detective Spingath observed the shooter in the door frame of the entrance to Snyder Hall and they witnessed the muzzle flash. The shooter shot several round towards Sergeant Kaney and Detective Spingath.
Seconds later both Sergeant Kaney and Detective Spingath felt they had a good target. They fired a total of three rounds at the shooter. Two rounds went into the entrance wall of Snyder Hall near where the shooter was standing and one round struck the shooter on the right side.
Once the shooter was wounded, he entered the classroom again, went to the front of the classroom, and shot and killed himself.
I want everyone to know the selfless acts these officers made in responding to the scene. The officers had little regard for their personal safety and saved many people that day with their heroic acts.
Sergeant Kaney and Detective Spingath used their training and discipline to determine the best time to take a shot at the shooter and once the suspect engaged the police officers he did not shoot another student.
These men saved lives this day.
The following information was provided by Chief Jim Burge:
Before I share profile information about Sergeant. Kaney and Detective Spingath, I would like to express my gratitude to all the public safety personnel who responded to the shooting at UCC. Without the response of the dedicated first responders the magnitude of this event would have been multiplied.
As police officers we know that we could be required to put our lives on the line at any time to help protect those in need. The shooting at UCC showed what amazing character your police officers have and how they are willing to risk their lives for our community.
Detective Sergeant Joe Kaney is a former Marine and has been employed with the Roseburg Police Department for 23 years. Sergeant Kaney has received a Medal of Honor and Purple Heart for a previous shooting where he was shot in 2005 from the Oregon Peace Officer Association.
Detective Todd Spingath is a United States Air Force veteran and has been employed with the Roseburg Police Department for 16 years. Detective Spingath is a recipient of the Medal of Valor for the same 2005 shooting.
I am very proud of how Sergeant Joe Kaney and Detective Todd Spingath, as well as all public safety organizations responded and conducted themselves during this ordeal. I, like many other people in this community, consider them to be heroes – they knew that they could be injured or killed during this confrontation as they ran toward the sound of gunfire.
I have spoken with both officers and I can tell you they do not want to heralded as heroes – they feel they are only first responders who got there first and did a job they were trained and entrusted to do.
Finally, Sergeant Kaney and Detective Spingath ask that the focus of your attention be on the victims and families of this tragedy – not on them. They ask for privacy and the opportunity to settle back into their routine of providing public safety service to this community.