Lincoln Co. DA determines officer shooting of man in Newport was - KPTV - FOX 12

Lincoln Co. DA determines officer shooting of man in Newport was justified

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Police body camera captured the officer-involved shooting in Newport. Police body camera captured the officer-involved shooting in Newport.
NEWPORT, OR (KPTV) -

The Lincoln County district attorney said an officer-involved shooting in Newport earlier this month was justified.

During a news conference Wednesday, DA Michelle Branam stated that Officer Andrew Ashpole of the Newport Police Department shot 53-year-old Nantharath Thilavanh only after repeated warnings and attempts to stop the man with non-lethal means.

According to a review by Oregon State Police, Officer Ashpole responded to a call at the Agate Beach RV Park where a resident said Thilavanh was trespassing. After contacting the man, the officer determined he had an active warrant for his arrest and attempted to take Thilavanh into custody.

After asking him to remove knives and a hammer from his pockets, Officer Ashpole stated he had a warrant for Thilavanh’s arrest, at which point the man grabbed the hammer to use as a weapon, leading the officer to pull his firearm.

A second Newport police officer, Thomas Lekas, joined Officer Ashpole, and drew a stun gun, and the officers made several attempts to subdue Thilavanh, with the stun gun’s record showing it had been used eight times.

Lincoln County Deputy Rene Lopez then arrived at the scene and attempted to assist the officers in subduing Thilavanh, however even his use of pepper spray did not stop the suspect.

Thilavanh then ran from officers onto Highway 101, interrupting traffic while continuing to confront the officers. The report stated he also moved toward a school bus with the hammer.

At some point, Thilavanh lunged at one of the officers, leading Officer Ashpole to shoot his weapon three times. Thilavanh continued toward the officer, so Ashpole shot three more times, hitting the man twice.

At that point additional Newport Police Department officers, Lincoln County deputies and Oregon State Police troopers arrived on scene and assisted with providing first aid to Thilavanh, who was shot in the knee and hip area.

Thilavanh was taken to a Corvallis hospital where he refused medical treatment, according to investigators. He remains in stable condition at the hospital, but continues to refuse treatment. It is not clear what charges, if any, he will be facing.

After reviewing witness statements, medical reports, officer reports and video, and considering use of force protocols, the district attorney determined that Officer Ashpole committed no crime and the case would not be brought to the grand jury.

Thilavanh’s attorney, David Wagner, said he and his client will likely pursue legal action against the City of Newport.

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