Grand jury finds Polk Co. officer-involved shooting justified - KPTV - FOX 12

Grand jury finds Polk Co. officer-involved shooting justified

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Scene of officer-involved shooting on Highway 22 in Polk County (Source: KPTV) Scene of officer-involved shooting on Highway 22 in Polk County (Source: KPTV)
POLK COUNTY, OR (KPTV) -

A Polk County Grand Jury unanimously found that a officer-involved shooting that killed Joshua Bolster in July was justified.

On July 5, police responded to reports of a man, Joshua Bolster, trespassing and harassing his ex-girlfriend and another man with a knife at an apartment complex in Monmouth.

Bolster had left by the time officers arrived, so his information was shared with other local law enforcement agencies.

Polk County Sheriff's Office Deputies Casey Gibson and Kelly Lorence spotted Bolster driving on Highway 22 near Doaksferry Road. 

Due to the information that Bolster may have a weapon in his vehicle and had threatened other people, Gibson and Lorence decided to perform a "high risk" traffic stop.

The deputies initiated the stop and Bolster pulled over and parked without incident. 

Both deputies, with guns drawn, began giving verbal commands for Bolster to put his hands up and come out of his vehicle.

According to law enforcement and witnesses, numerous commands to come out were given to Bolster. During the exchange, Polk County Sheriff's Deputies Michael Smith and Michael Lauderback arrived on scene. They also drew their firearms and begin giving commands for Bolster to come out of his vehicle. 

Bolster did not comply with the commands. He was hostile, belligerent, and told deputies multiple times he will "not go to jail" and they will have to "shoot him", according to witnesses.

According to the Polk Co. District Attorney's Office, Bolster told deputies he needed to get his phone from within the vehicle. Deputies warned him that if he reached into his vehicle, it would be considered threatening behavior. After being warned, Bolster removed his hands from the deputies' sight and began rummaging in the vehicle.

Deputies asked Bolster to stop because they could not see what he was doing, but Bolster continued and that's when Deputy Gibson fired one shot that struck Bolster but did not immobilize him.

According to the Polk Co. District Attorney's Office, Bolster continued to go through his vehicle out of deputies' sight. Deputies continued to warn Bolster that his actions were being interpreted as a threat.

Deputy Gibson fired a second shot that hit Bolster in the head. 

Bolster was taken to the Salem Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

The Polk Co. District Attorney's Office said the knife Bolster had in the Monmouth incident was found on the front passenger seat of his vehicle.

The Grand Jury heard testimony from the four involved deputies, officers from the Salem Police Department, Monmouth Police Department, Oregon State Police, Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office, and five citizen witnesses.

On Wednesday, the Grand Jury found that Deputy Gibson's use of deadly force was lawful and justified.

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