8 officers cleared of wrongdoing in Josephine County fatal shooting case

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. – The officers who shot and killed a man at an Interstate 5 rest area this past September will not face any charges.

Investigators said on the evening of September 20, 2022, Oregon State Police and the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call of shots fired near the northbound Manzanita Rest Area on I-5 just north of the Merlin Road exit. The caller told dispatchers a female had been shot.

When troopers and deputies arrived at the scene, they were confronted by a man named Rock Jordan, which led to an officer-involved shooting. Jordan did not survive.

The female was reportedly hospitalized in stable condition.

In accordance with policy, the involved troopers and deputies were placed on administrative leave.

No further information was released until October 31 when the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office announced the officers were justified in their actions.

The district attorney’s office released the following statement:

Josephine County District Attorney concludes review of officer-involved shooting that occurred on September 20, 2022, at the Northbound Manzanita Rest Area.

Josh Eastman, the Josephine County District Attorney, announced today that he has concluded review of the officer involved shooting that occurred at approximately 4:45 p.m. on September 20, 2022, at Northbound Manzanita Rest Area.

On September 20, 2022, at approximately 4:13 pm, Oregon State Police Dispatch received a call from a woman stating, “I called earlier” [records reflect the woman called Jackson County 911 at approximately 3:00 p.m.] requesting that they “please get this…guy out of my …car,” “he just pointed a…gun at me,” and “he wouldn’t let me leave here.” The woman did not know where she was, but Dispatch was able to determine she was at/near the Northbound Manzanita Rest Area. The woman told dispatch that he, later identified as Rock Jordan, had a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun, was not like this until he took an “Alka-Seltzer shot,” and that Jordan told her “I will…kill you.” The woman also reported to dispatch that Jordan was ready for law enforcement and Jordan was in her Jeep trying to take the top off. The woman remained on the phone with dispatch throughout the encounter including after being shot multiple times by Jordan.

Several Oregon State Police Troopers, an Oregon State Police Lieutenant, and an Oregon State Police Sergeant (“OSP Sgt.”) responded to the scene. Due to the presence of firearms and notes made by dispatch that Jordan was “ready for law enforcement,” law enforcement staged at the northbound rest-area entrance to formulate a plan. During this time, deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to assist.

Due to the topography of the entrance/off ramp of the northbound Manzanita rest area and the size of the rest area, law enforcement was unable to see Jordan (still believed to be in the Jeep) or the woman who called 911 from the staging point. Deputies walked up to Highland and then into the woods to get a closer more accurate view of Jordan, the woman, and the Jeep. The on-scene units’ focus was on removing the woman from the scene, so law enforcement relayed to dispatch, who then relayed to the woman to “walk towards the police” (the woman still had her cell phone).

Shortly after that, deputies in the trees witnessed Jordan shoot at the woman multiple times, she fell, and then she crawled towards a set of bushes near the bathrooms.             Jordan got out of the Jeep, raced to her, grabbed the keys, and returned to the Jeep. Jordan began driving the Jeep directly at the “staging area”—and law enforcement at the staging area fired towards the Jeep. The Jeep slowed, stopped, and began backing up into the middle of the rest area.

During this time, in addition to erratically driving through the rest area based on law enforcement observations, Jordan opened fire at the deputies in the woods. Because the woman had been shot, law enforcement staged at the off ramp decided to move in to retrieve the woman and prevent Jordan’s escape. Somewhere during this time, a Deputy at the north end of the rest area, fired rounds into the driver side window of the Jeep to incapacitate Jordan. As the southbound units (OSP and Sheriff’s Office) approached Jordan in the center of the rest area, Jordan was firing the rifle through the windshield of the Jeep at law enforcement as they approached Jordan.

At approximately 4:50 p.m., and in spite of actively being fired at, the OSP Sgt. accelerated his Tahoe directly towards Jordan and the Jeep, rammed the Jeep, and pushed the Jeep into the landscaping between the parking lot and the restroom, where the vehicles came to rest. Jordan still was not incapacitated or surrendering and the OSP Sgt, after noticing Jordan still appeared agitated and observed what appeared to be part of the AR 15 in—or within— reach, fired multiple rounds from his handgun into the Jeep, exited the vehicle, and got out of the crossfire.

Even after the OSP Sgt.’s rounds, Jordan was still moving/active, and other law enforcement opened fire on the Jeep until law enforcement confirmed Jordan was no longer a threat. Once Jordan was no longer a threat, law enforcement went to help the woman who had crawled to the bushes nearby.

In all, eight law enforcement officers—5 OSP and 3 Josephine County Sheriff’s Office— fired their weapons during this incident.

The District Attorney is charged with the duty of reviewing incidents where deadly physical force is used by police and citizens to determine if the use of force was consistent with Oregon law. As of January 1, 2021, law enforcement’s use of deadly force is outlined in ORS 161.242, which states that:

  • A peace officer may use deadly physical force upon another person only when it is objectively reasonable, under the totality of circumstances known to the peace officer, to believe that the person poses an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to the peace officer or to a third person and the use of deadly physical force is necessary to:
    1. Make a lawful arrest when the peace officer has probable cause to believe the person has committed a violent felony;
    2. Defend the peace officer or a third person from the imminent threat of death or serious physical injury; or
    3. Prevent the escape from custody of the person when the peace officer has probable cause to believe the person has committed a violent felony.
  • Prior to using deadly physical force upon another person, if the peace officer has a reasonable opportunity to do so, the peace officer shall:
    1. Consider alternatives such as verbal de-escalation, waiting, using other available resources and techniques if reasonable, safe and feasible, or using a lesser degree of force; and
    2. Give a verbal warning to the person that deadly physical force may be used and provide the person with a reasonable opportunity to comply.

ORS 161.242.

This incident was an active shooter situation. Jordan was armed, had pointed a firearm at the woman, stated to her that he was “ready” for police, shot the woman multiple times while police were present, and then began—and continued—firing at police at a public rest area off I-5 in the mid-afternoon/early evening. Even after the police returned fire and attempted to surround the vehicle in marked police units with lights/sirens activated, Jordan showed no signs of surrender. Here, there were essentially three separate uses of deadly force by the police— the offramp, the onramp, and internal use of force.

At the time law enforcement—at the offramp—fired their weapons, Jordan had shot the woman, fired at police, and was driving directly towards them. At the time law enforcement— at the onramp—fired his weapon, Jordan had shot the woman and was still firing at police. At the time the OSP Sgt rammed the vehicle, fired his weapon, and the remaining officers fired, Jordan had shot the woman, shot at police, and had shown no signs of surrender or incapacitation.

The below still shot from the OSP Sgt.’s dash cam shows the Jeep’s windshield breaking as Jordan fires his rifle through it from the driver’s seat. It bears emphasizing and acknowledging the valor and selflessness of the OSP Sgt.’s actions. The OSP Sgt’s decision to ram the Jeep and incapacitate the vehicle along with Jordan, despite the rounds being fired directly at his vehicle only feet away, to bring a prompt resolution to this active shooter situation likely prevented any further harm to the public, the woman, and law enforcement.

Under ORS 161.242, all eight officers use of deadly force was justified under (a), (b), and

(c) and there was no “reasonable opportunity” to warn Jordan and / or attempt any type of verbal de-escalation. In sum, Jordan told the woman he was ready for police, Jordan shot her, and then Jordan was actively shooting at police when police shot Jordan. Jordan had committed a violent felony, was using deadly force against police, and was potentially going to escape on I-5 after doing so. No further action in this matter is anticipated nor merited.

District Attorney Eastman would like to thank the Grants Pass Police Department for their investigation in this matter.

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