BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney says a Deputy was justified in shooting a suspect in October, near Deschutes Junction. D.A John Hummel held a press conference Friday to outline his findings, "There's no question that Deputy Jones shot Brandon Berrett, that's never been in dispute. The only question is whether he was legally justified in doing so."
Three deputies and two trainees arrived at the property known as the Funny Farm, October 12, to serve 33-year-old Brandon Berrett with a felony warrant. But, when they tried to arrest the suspect, Hummel says, Berrett drove his car at a high rate of speed toward Deputy Chris Jones and a trainee. "With Berrett driving in his direction, Deputy Jones, he drew his department issued Glock 17 9mm handgun, pointed it at Berrett and yelled 'Stop, Sheriff'!" Jones then fired through the driver's window, striking Berrett twice. "Based on all the available evidence, Deputy Jones' belief that Berrett was about to use physical force against him, or Corrections Deputy Lewis, is objectively reasonable," says Hummel.
Berrett survived the shooting and was rushed to the hospital, "Law enforcement was with Berrett at the hospital; and immediately after Berrett's arrival, he was overheard saying he was only trying to get away, and also, quote, 'I do a Lot of Meth'." But, Hummel says, that doesn't excuse his behavior, "If Berrett wasn't trying to hit him, Berrett was trying to get within an half inch of him, to scare him into thinking he was going to get hit, and that's extremely dangerous. He put Jones' life at risk, whether he was trying to hit him or not. I would've charged him with attempted murder, if I thought we could prove that he was trying to hit him."
While he ruled the shooting as justified, Hummel remains concerned by some of the decisions Deputy Jones made that day, which he says contributed to the danger of the situation. "Based on his prior visits to the Funny Farm, Jones knew the property to be 'A tactical nightmare.' Those are his words." Hummel says, because of that knowledge, Jones should never have entered the property to serve the warrant without a tactical plan. Even so, Hummel says the fault is Berrett's, "It was Mr. Berrett's decision to drive a car in a dangerous manner toward Deputy Jones and his ride-along that resulted in the shots' being fired." It is Hummel's recommendation that all deputies involved in the incident receive further training.
Berrett was later indicted by a Grand Jury on numerous charges, including Escape, Attempting to Elude, Recklessly Endangering, and DUII. He's due in court Monday afternoon.