Dear Community Members, We, the Klamath County Grand Jury, having reviewed the officer involved shooting which occurred on November 12, 2019 and have determined that the shooting was justified. We reached our conclusion after a careful examination of all the evidence. This included witness statements, 9-1-1 call, officer body cameras, the investigation conducted by the Oregon state Police, the testimony of Klamath Falls City Police Officers, and the testimony of Sergeant Maury Smith. It also included a review of the statutes on defensive use of force.
Law enforcement routinely place their lives at risk when responding to volatile domestic disturbances. Unfortunately, there are times when a suspects’ behaviors and interactions with law enforcement create circumstances where it is reasonable for an officer to believe their life and the lives of community members are in danger. At such times, an officer is justified in using deadly force. Sergeant Maury Smith was confronted with such a scenario.
On November 12, 2019 Sergeant Smith and other officers responded to a call of a domestic disturbance. During the course of their investigation law enforcement learned that Robert Lee Faulkner had been asked to leave the residence, was very angry, was in possession of a firearm and intended to attempt “suicide by cop.”
The responding officers began to search the property around the home of the reporting party. Sergeant Smith observed Mr. Faulkner concealed in a bush. Sergeant Smith shouted directions at Faulkner to show his hands. Mr. Faulkner pointed a gun at Sergeant Smith. Sergeant Smith fired his service weapon injuring Mr. Faulkner. Law enforcement immediately rendered emergency medical services in a compassionate and professional manner. Mr. Faulkner was transferred to Emergency Medical Services and transported for medical care.
Subsequent investigation revealed Mr. Faulkner’s weapon was an air soft or BB gun modified by Mr. Faulkner to replicate a real gun. Sergeant Smith’s perception of the gun as being a real firearm was reasonable and rational under the circumstances.
We regret the circumstances that forced Sergeant Smith into a decision law enforcement never wants to have to make. Mr. Faulkner is very fortunate to have survived. We hope he obtains the services he needs to address his mental health condition.
Respectfully and In Service, Foreperson, Klamath County Grand Jury