Deputy vindicated in fatal shooting of Portland man at truck stop, grand jury hears

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SALEM — A grand jury has ruled that a Marion County deputy was justified in the fatal April 25 shooting of a Portland man who shot a police officer after the man barricaded himself in a pickup truck at a relay station road in Aurora.

Law enforcement officers testified that 27-year-old Micaiah Clinton shot at police more than a dozen times, wounding Woodburn Police Officer Jesse Ponce, a member of Interagency County SWAT Marion, reported the Statesman Journal.

Marion County Deputy Tyler Morrow returned fire and killed Clinton, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

The shooting followed an attempted arrest of Clinton, who had outstanding warrants, and an hours-long standoff with police at the Pilot Flying J truck stop south of Portland near Interstate 5.

Ponce underwent three surgeries at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and is expected to make a full recovery.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Jason Fitzpatrick told the grand jury he asked deputies to respond to the Flying J after seeing Clinton in the parking lot around 6:15 a.m. on April 25.

Fitzpatrick said he knew Clinton had a federal warrant for a bank robbery probation violation and state warrants for being a felon in possession of a firearm and evading police. Clinton had also told his probation officer that he would not obey the terms of his probation and would “never go back to jail,” Fitzpatrick said.

After negotiations and gas ammo had no effect, at around 10:50 a.m. Clinton exited the van wearing a gas mask, bulletproof vest and badge proclaiming to be a “sovereign citizen,” deputies testified. He was armed with an assault rifle.

Without warning, officials said, Clinton shot Ponce in the left thigh, knocking the officer to the ground. Clinton then shot Ponce in his lower right leg.

Clinton then began shooting Marion County Deputy Tyler Morrow, a SWAT member, as he came to Ponce’s defense, officials testified. Morrow “opened fire” and struck Clinton three times, killing him.

“There is no doubt that the heroic actions of Officer Ponce and Deputy Morrow saved lives, and that Mr. Clinton would have killed Officer Ponce and others had he not been arrested “Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson said in a statement.

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