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More details released about Rockaway Beach shooting

ROCKAWAY BEACH, Ore. — More details have been released about an officer-involved shooting in Rockaway Beach.

The shooting on Sept. 7 left one Rockaway Beach man dead and the community with lingering questions. The two officers involved — a Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office deputy and an Oregon State Police trooper — have both been placed on administrative leave and the Clatsop County Major Crimes Team is investigating the incident.

Tillamook County District Attorney Aubrey Olson provided a statement about the events for the first time in a press release Thursday night and said autopsy results confirmed the man died from a single gun shot wound.

The names of the victim and the officers involved have not been released.

Neighbors who witnessed what happened told KMUN that the man was at his mother’s house near North Juniper Street behaving erratically and angrily. He was walking back and forth outside her home, screaming and throwing things. Several people, worried for the woman’s safety, called 911 to report what was going on. 

A Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office deputy initially responded to the disturbance. An Oregon State Trooper joined when the deputy requested back up as the situation escalated.

Pat Olson, who lives nearby and serves on the Rockaway Beach Planning Commission, told KMUN officers pleaded with the man for some time to calm down. Then the man, wielding a pipe, smashed a picture window at the front of the house and started to go inside.

Olson said he heard officers tell the man to stay out of the house and then he heard at least two shots.

District Attorney Aubrey Olson said both officers fired at the man and he died at the scene. 

Family members have described the incident as a mental health issue.

Both officers suffered some injuries during the incident but did not require hospitalization.

Olson said she will review the evidence gathered and determine whether to bring the matter to Grand Jury. KMUN has asked the district attorney and other agencies involved to release the name of the victim and the names of the officers as well as provide access to 911 calls made in response to the incident. Olson has declined to release any names or the 911 calls.

It has been a difficult time for Rockaway Beach residents and Tillamook County in general.

Adam Brecht, a beloved resident of Rockaway Beach whose family owns the Old Oregon Smokehouse, died in a house fire on Sept.8, the day after the officer-involved shooting.

In a statement, the family wrote that Brecht was “a friend to everyone” and that “the world and the town of Rockaway feels the loss.”

The community held a candlelight vigil to commemorate Brecht last weekend.

Then, this week, law enforcement responded to threats of violence made against schools in Tillamook County on Wednesday night.

A juvenile was taken into custody and school district representatives said the family was cooperating with investigators. Officers with the Tillamook Police Department and the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office were on campuses Thursday as an increased security measure.

“Although the issue has been turned over to the judicial system, we will continue to take the necessary steps to keep the safety of your child as our highest priority,” Tillamook School District Superintendent Matt Ellis wrote in a letter to the community.