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Marion County DA Statement on Police Officer Involved ShootingSalem-News.com
Prosecutors explain the details in a recent shooting that has been the subject of much speculation.
(SALEM, Ore.) - A Marion County Grand Jury Thursday unanimously found that the police officer shooting of Andrew James Hanlon, which occurred on June 30th 2008, was a lawful use of deadly physical force.
A total of thirteen witnesses testified before the Grand Jury, nine civilians and four police officers. Tony Gonzalez did not testify in person, however, a videotape of Gonzalez's interview with detectives was shown.
The Grand Jury was provided with photographs of the scene of the shooting, both day and night, three diagrams, as well as photographs of the residences of Shannon Kelley and of Andrew Hanlon's sister, Melanie Heise. Additionally, the Grand Jury heard the original 911 call of a burglary in progress and a copy of the police dispatch recordings before and after the shooting. The Grand Jury also reviewed the autopsy report of Andrew Hanlon, prepared by the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office, the toxicology reports of both Andrew Hanlon and Tony Gonzalez, and the medical/mental health history documents of Andrew Hanlon.
Of the four police officers that testified, two were called to testify about the scene of the incident and Tony Gonzalez's condition after the shooting. The third officer, the lead detective, was called only to lay the foundation for the previously mentioned photos, the dispatch recordings and the videotaped interview of Tony Gonzalez. The fourth and final officer was from an independent law enforcement agency outside Marion County. This officer trains other police officers on use of force and was called to testify about proper police procedure.
Three of the nine civilian witnesses who testified were called primarily to tell the Grand Jury about Andrew Hanlon as a person.
These witnesses were his sister, his roommate, and his best friend. While none of these witnesses had first hand knowledge of what occurred on the night of the shooting, the state believed the Grand Jury needed to hear information about Andrew Hanlon to achieve a fair and accurate portrayal of this incident.
The remaining six civilian witnesses were called to testify as to what they personally observed on June 30, 2008. They included the woman who called 911 to report a burglary in progress as Andrew Hanlon was attempting to break into her home as well as the man who was an eyewitness to the confrontation between Andrew Hanlon and Tony Gonzalez. The other witnesses helped complete the picture of what happened that night.
The events of the night of June 30th 2008 in Silverton, Oregon occurred as follows, according to the Marion County DA: "At approximately 11:20 PM, Shannon Kelley heard the sound of someone knocking at the front door of her Silverton residence as she was reading a book in her upstairs bedroom. Mrs. Kelley was home with her three young children and her parents, who were visiting from Montana. Mrs. Kelley's husband, Josiah Kelley, was working at a friend's house nearby. Upon hearing the knock, Mrs. Kelley assumed that her husband had returned home and simply forgotten his key, so she got up to let him in.
By the time Mrs. Kelley reached the front door, the knocking had turned into very aggressive pounding. Mrs. Kelley turned on the porch light and saw a man on her front porch that she did not know and had never seen before. That man was later identified as Andrew Hanlon.
Andrew Hanlon appeared to be acting very strangely. He was unable to stand still and was alternating between peering into the windows of the Kelley residence and beating on the front door."
Note: The Marion DA says there has been speculation in the media that perhaps Andrew Hanlon mistook the Kelleys' home for that of his sister's, "however the two residences are not at all similar." Andrew Hanlon's sister's house is a small, salmon colored one story house located in a neighborhood in Silverton. It has a small picket fence with a gate in the front yard and eight steps up to a small porch. Once on the porch, you must then turn to your right to have access to the front door, as it does not face the steps.
By contrast, the Kelley residence is a large blue two story house at the top of a hill located on a private driveway named Digerness Blvd. There are only two other houses on Digerness. The residence does not have a fence in front of it and it has only three steps that lead to a very large porch. The front door directly faces the porch steps.
The statement continued: "Mrs. Kelley became frightened and told Andrew Hanlon to leave, but he refused. Instead, he repeatedly demanded to be let in. Andrew Hanlon was speaking in Old English, yelling phrases that included, 'Thou shalt let me in!' He also yelled that he had a sword and made gestures as if he was swinging a sword although he did not appear to be armed. At one point, he peered inside the window next to the front door and shook his fist at Mrs. Kelley's father. He continued to yell and scream and at one point he claimed to be the 'angel of death.' As Mrs. Kelley watched, Andrew Hanlon literally howled at the moon. Eventually Andrew Hanlon's screams ceased to be comprehensible and became 'guttural' and 'animalistic.' Mrs. Kelley had already called 911 to report that someone was attempting to break into her house. Her fear was obvious on the 911 call, and in the background of that call, Andrew Hanlon can be heard screaming and beating on the door.
Andrew Hanlon continued to punch and kick the door to the point that Mrs. Kelley and her parents all had to put their bodies against the door to keep him from kicking it down."
Note: Prosecutors say that after Andrew Hanlon fled from the scene of the attempted burglary, inspection of the Kelleys' front door revealed blood, blood spatter and even skin tissue.
"Once Andrew Hanlon realized that he was unable to punch or kick down the door, he ran from the porch to the driveway, got a running start and began to hurl himself against the Kelleys' front door. He did this a number of times. After his final run at the door, Andrew Hanlon screamed something incomprehensible and abruptly ran off down the hill going through the trees and blackberries, without shoes, toward Oak Street."
The DA says that as soon as Mrs. Kelley's 911 call came in, police were dispatched to her residence. Dispatch continued to relay information to responding officers throughout the course of the 911 call. Tony Gonzalez and Silverton Police Officer Josh Barnett responded. Dispatch recordings show that officers were:
1. Told of a possible Burglary in progress at the Kelley residence;
2. Told a description of the suspect (Andrew Hanlon);
3. Told that the suspect did not have weapons but was possibly intoxicated;
4. Told that the suspect had fled down hill and were given the direction.
The statement continued: "The officers responded to the area and began looking for Andrew Hanlon. During the search, Officer Barnett drove up Digerness Blvd. to the Kelley residence, while Tony Gonzalez was down below on Oak Street.
Upon hearing that Andrew Hanlon was coming down the hill, Tony Gonzalez parked his patrol car near the residence at 606 Oak Street and got out to attempt to locate Andrew Hanlon."
Note: According to the Marion County DA, this address had five vehicles parked in a row in the driveway in front of and to the east of the residence.
"As Tony Gonzalez approached the wooded portion of the hill east of the residence on Oak Street, he heard branches breaking. Tony Gonzalez shined his flashlight into the trees and saw Andrew Hanlon. Tony Gonzalez did not know Andrew Hanlon either personally or by reputation. He had had no prior contact with Andrew Hanlon, nor was he aware of anything other than what dispatch had advised.
Upon seeing Andrew Hanlon, Tony Gonzalez did not draw his service weapon, rather he ordered him to come down and to show him his hands. Andrew Hanlon did come down from the trees but instead of following Tony Gonzalez's orders, he cut behind the first of the five parked vehicles and began moving west, parallel to Oak Street.
On the other end of the parked vehicles, Tony Gonzalez began to follow Andrew Hanlon, also moving west, parallel to Oak Street. When Andrew Hanlon went behind the second parked vehicle, he ducked down out of sight. Tony Gonzalez, believing that Andrew Hanlon may run, began to go in between the second and third vehicles to cut off a possible escape route. As Tony Gonzalez moved towards Andrew Hanlon at the rear of the vehicles, Tony Gonzalez heard a sound that he thought was glass breaking."
Note: It is the opinion of investigators that the sound was Andrew Hanlon kicking or bumping into a recycling bin that had glass bottles in it causing them to clink together. There is no evidence of broken glass.
"Upon hearing this noise, Tony Gonzalez believed that Andrew Hanlon could be armed with a broken bottle and he drew his service weapon. Andrew Hanlon then stepped out from behind the second vehicle. At this point, Tony Gonzalez and Andrew Hanlon were within five to eight feet of each other. The area was only partially illuminated and Andrew Hanlon was turned sideways and would not face Tony Gonzalez. Therefore, Tony Gonzalez was only able to see Andrew Hanlon's right hand. Tony Gonzalez then ordered Andrew Hanlon to show him both of his hands and to get down on the ground. Andrew Hanlon did not comply with those orders, so Tony Gonzalez yelled them again. For a moment it appeared that Andrew Hanlon was going to comply; he said, 'Okay,' and started to reach toward the ground. However, he then stood back up straight and quickly bent down again, as if to touch the ground, and let out a scream and leapt towards Tony Gonzalez. Tony Gonzalez began to retreat as Andrew Hanlon chased after him swinging his arms, kicking and screaming. As Tony Gonzalez backed up, he cleared the two vehicles he had been between and continued back all the way across the driveway and into Oak Street. Andrew Hanlon continued advancing on Tony Gonzalez this entire distance, approximately twenty-five feet and Tony Gonzalez was never able to get more than five feet from Andrew Hanlon. At some point as Tony Gonzalez was retreating, he began to shoot at Andrew Hanlon in an attempt to defend his life under the circumstances. Tony Gonzalez fired his weapon seven times. Andrew Hanlon continued to chase Tony Gonzalez even as he fired his weapon. Andrew Hanlon finally stopped and fell to the ground just as he was entering the street. Autopsy results show that Andrew Hanlon was shot five times and that he died as a result of the gunshot wounds he sustained.
As this incident was occurring, Silverton resident, Jeff DeSantis, was driving along Oak Street. Mr. DeSantis did not know either Tony Gonzalez or Andrew Hanlon. Upon seeing Tony Gonzalez's patrol car parked in the street, Mr. DeSantis stopped his vehicle. Mr. DeSantis then looked to his left and saw the beginning of the confrontation between Tony Gonzalez and Andrew Hanlon. Mr. DeSantis had an unobstructed view and was approximately thirty-five feet from Tony Gonzalez and Andrew Hanlon when it began. When Mr. DeSantis first observed them Tony Gonzalez and Andrew Hanlon were at the rear of the two vehicles and Tony Gonzalez had his weapon drawn. He heard Tony Gonzalez repeatedly say, 'Get down!' 'Freeze!' 'Don't move!' 'Get down!' Mr. DeSantis said these commands were made several times and were very clear. Mr. DeSantis then heard Andrew Hanlon make what he described as a "primordial war scream" and start toward the officer, trying to strike and kick him with what appeared to be martial arts moves. Mr. DeSantis describes Tony Gonzalez's retreat from Andrew Hanlon as similar to that of a football player back-peddling and he called it 'very professional.' Mr. DeSantis heard Officer Gonzalez continue to order Andrew Hanlon to 'Get down!' and 'Stop!' even while retreating. Mr. DeSantis also saw that despite his retreat, Tony Gonzalez was never able to get more than five feet from Andrew Hanlon. Mr. DeSantis watched as Tony Gonzalez began to fire his service weapon and he saw that Andrew Hanlon continued to pursue Tony Gonzalez even as Tony Gonzalez fired. It was not until several shots had been fired that Andrew Hanlon began to slow down. Mr. DeSantis saw that Tony Gonzalez stopped firing as soon as Andrew Hanlon stopped coming after him. Mr. DeSantis saw Andrew Hanlon fall to the ground. Mr. DeSantis also saw that Tony Gonzalez never shot Andrew Hanlon when he was not chasing him and never shot him when he was on the ground. Mr. DeSantis then heard Tony Gonzalez immediately grab his radio and report, 'Shots fired!' Mr. DeSantis attempted to tend to Andrew Hanlon, however, he was too severely injured and he died at the scene. Andrew Hanlon was not armed when he was shot.
The state says they chose to give this lengthy press release in an effort to combat the accusations of a conspiracy or a cover-up that have arisen in the last three and a half weeks.
"It is vital in a case like this that the investigation and Grand Jury process be allowed to run its course fairly and independently. Releasing bits and pieces of the evidence prior to the conclusion of the case could inaccurately sway public opinion and therefore harm the integrity of the investigation and the Grand Jury proceeding.
The Grand Jury made its decision in applying the facts of this case to legal principals regarding when deadly physical force can be used. The legal principals that apply are as follows:
Tony Gonzalez had to reasonably believe that Andrew Hanlon was either:
(1) Committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against himself or another person.
(2) Committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling.
(3) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against Tony Gonzalez or another person. The decision of whether deadly physical force is justified does not boil down solely to the question of whether someone is armed with a weapon or not. The decision requires the application of all of the facts and evidence available to the legal rules. That is what the Grand Jury has done today.
What should be of paramount importance to the public is that the process was allowed to work. All of the primary witnesses were civilians, members of the public and this case was decided not by one person, one agency or by public opinion but rather by a Grand Jury made up of members of the public who heard all of the evidence and rendered its decision.
Source: Marion County District Attorney's Office
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