The following is a graphic video recorded by a driver with a cell phone who was stopped in traffic Wednesday morning while Newport Police tried to subdue a man that was threatening them with a hammer.
Events leading up to the confrontation may have involved the officers trying to apprehend him for an outstanding indecent exposure warrant for his arrest out of of the Portland area.
Wounds to the suspect didn’t kill him. He was airlifted to the Corvallis Trauma Center.
Here’s the day’s final news release from Oregon State Police:
On December 9, 2015 at about 11:50AM, the Newport Police Department responded to the report of an unwanted subject at Agate Beach RV Park, 6138 Highway 101 in Newport. The suspect, Nantharath THILAVANS, 53 years old, Portland, was contacted.
Two Newport Police Department Officers and one Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived and contacted THILAVANS. He became combative and multiple attempts at non-lethal force were applied (pepper spray and taser applications) without success.
During the altercation THILAVANS raised a dangerous weapon and threatened the officers. One officer fired his duty weapon at the suspect, striking him and critically injuring him. THILAVANS was transported to Newport Hospital for his injuries where he was subsequently taken by air ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis.
This is an ongoing investigation. More information will be released when it becomes available.
There are some aspects in this video that might not be obvious to the casual viewer. Police officers are trained to not only try to control the person they’re after, but to not get hurt themselves in the final seconds of subduing the subject. With that flowing cape-like garment, there were many times when the man’s other hand was not visible. Nor was visible whether the man’s other hand might have had access to a gun concealed in his clothing.
Lots of moving parts in these kinds of confrontations.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT!! GRAPHIC CONTENT!! GRAPHIC CONTENT!!
Here’s a conversation The Oregonian had with the manager of the Agate Beach R/V Park. Click here.
Some Local opinions:
From the video clip of the shooting on Hwy 101 It appears there were other methods that could have been used without critical wounding of the suspect. He appeared to be mentally unstable, but not a real threat to the officers. Under current rules, yes! they were justified in shooting him, but as an officer (retired) for over 20 years, he could have been shot in the leg. Which would have been very easy at the distance from the suspect. There did not appear to be a reason to fire 6 shots at the suspect. If the report was true about being hit once. The officers need to go back to basic training with a fire arm. He should have been hit 6 times.
A tactical net could have been applied without firing a shot. However, I doubt the officers had one. A non-life threating fire-arm charge could have also been used. It was very evident that the person had mental problems. I would not have shot the suspect in the body. If I felt he was a real threat, which was not evident in the video, he could also have been tasered several more times. I saw no evidence of that in the video that other methods were tried. They had plenty of time to fire several more tasers.
Just a general opinion from video clip only. I am sure the investigation will justify the shooting under current rules. Thanks.
I am an honorably retired police officer from Lincoln County. I have approximately 35 years of Law Enforcement experience.
I agree with your editor to view the cell phone video with caution. Reality to an objective observer may be different than the reality of the officers and the person being arrested. Plus we only have a partial recording of what happened. We do not have a recording of the verbal exchanges between the officers or the suspect or what happened before the shooting. I know from personal experience that we have automatic physiological responses we have no control over. “Fight or Flight”. We become totally focused on the threat before us and very few of us can remain totally calm and collected under such stress.
That being said I would like to comment on what the previous retired law enforcement said. Deadly force is deadly force. Police officers are not trained to wound an assailant. They are trained to stop the threat. Any wound from a firearm is potentially fatal whether in the leg or arm or shoulder. Police officers carry that responsibility with them every day of their working lives. Most do not carry that responsibility lightly.
Tasers while for the most part are wonderful tools for the police and suspects, are limited in their effectiveness if the probes do not embed into the body. If a person is wearing baggy clothes and is constantly moving, the taser possibly could not be effective.
A lot of us in this day of instant communication, cell phones and police television shows sometimes forget what the real world is. We rush to judgement without corroboration, and many police shows are drama and
may not really depict real life.
My heart goes out to the officers who go to work every day protecting and serving their communities. My heart also goes out to the suspect that for whatever his reasons chose to escalate the situation. I have compassion for the homeless especially in this day and age.