Officers justified in fatal shooting of murder suspect on Highway 199

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Josephine County District Attorney says all seven officers involved in the deadly shooting on Highway 199 near Allen Creek Road on December 15 were justified in shooting the murder suspect.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, at the time of the shooting, officers were actively looking for Kelly Lynn Mason, who had a nationwide warrant for murder, burglary, robbery, assault, and unlawful use of a weapon. Officers were informed about the car Mason drove, where he was most likely staying, that he had likely been in possession of guns, and that he had said “goodbye” to a family member the day prior after making statements about “shooting it out with police.” Each of the officers involved in the shooting knew all or most of the information at the time.

The DA says just before noon on December 15, a sheriff’s office deputy spotted Mason’s vehicle heading inbound on Highway 199. The deputy began following Mason but did not pull the car over because he had been instructed to wait for backup.

As the car approached Grants Pass, more and more law enforcement units were circling in on Mason’s position. The DA says law enforcement decided to attempt a high risk stop near Dowell Road and Highway 199.

The DA says almost as soon as law enforcement began flashing lights, Mason began speeding up and weaving in an out of traffic. Mason was not stopping, and law enforcement attempted a PIT maneuver on his vehicle just before the intersection of Highway 199 and Allen Creek Road.

Mason’s vehicle skidded to a stop on the right shoulder of 199 just before the intersection. The DA says Mason’s vehicle windows were tinted, and police had a difficult time looking in through the driver-side window. Soon after coming to a stop, shots began coming from within Mason’s car at the two Sheriff patrol vehicles nearby. The Sheriff’s Office Corporal’s vehicle was hit, glass sprayed his face, and a projectile hit him in the head.

The DA says because Mason was shooting at officers, seven officers returned fire, including the Corporal form the Sheriff’s Office. The seven officers fired numerous rounds, paused, then fired again because they say they saw Mason raising what was believed to be a “long gun” or long barreled pistol. Once Mason stopped moving, they stopped shooting and began to secure the scene.

The press release stated the Sheriff’s Office Corporal’s injuries were minor and he was released from the hospital the same day.

Inside Mason’s car, police found an AR-15 style rifle, a magazine with the phrase “don’t die first” on it, seven empty “green tip” 5.56 casings, and body armor which Mason was wearing.

The DA found that there was no reasonable opportunity to warn Mason or attempt any type of verbal de-escalation before the officers fired. All seven involved officers were justified.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Taylar Ansures is a producer and reporter for NBC5 News. Taylar is from Redding, California and went to California State University, Chico. After graduating, she joined KRCR News Channel 7 in Redding as a morning producer. She moved to Southern Oregon in 2022 to be closer to family and became KTVL News 10’s digital producer. Taylar is currently finishing her Master's Degree in Professional Creative Writing through the University of Denver. In her free time, Taylar frequents independent bookstores and explores hiking trails across Southern Oregon and Northern California.
Skip to content