A Clackamas County grand jury has declined to bring charges against a sheriff’s office deputy who shot and killed an armed man June 7.
District Attorney John Wentworth announced Thursday that the grand jury found Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Casey Newton was justified to use lethal force against 44-year-old Jeremiah Lee Wright.
According to evidence presented to the grand jury, Newton noticed a vehicle did not have license plates near the intersection of Southeast 129th Avenue and Southeast King Road in Happy Valley. Newton then attempted to stop the vehicle, which Wright was driving. The car was later determined to be stolen.
Wright drove away from the traffic stop, and a high speed chase ensued where the vehicles reached speeds of nearly 100 mph, according to investigators. Wright crashed his vehicle into the fence of the Sunnyside Montessori School on Southeast 122nd Avenue.
Dashcam footage shows Wright running from Newton carrying a handgun. According to the district attorney’s office, the deputy yelled repeatedly for Wright to drop the gun. Civilian witnesses said they heard Newton’s commands for Wright to stop running and get on the ground.
During the foot chase, Wright turned toward Newton while still carrying the gun. Newton fired and struck Wright five times in the torso.
Investigators recovered a 9mm Glock handgun near Wright’s body that had its serial number removed. According to police, the trigger was cocked in a firing position.
The district attorney’s office said officers began giving medical aid to Wright within 90 seconds of the shooting, and an ambulance was on scene within roughly eight minutes.
Wright was on probation at the time he was killed. Police said they recovered ammunition, heroin, fentanyl, steroids, methamphetamine and OxyContin from the stolen vehicle he was driving.
After Wright’s killing, family told the Oregonian/OregonLive that he suffered from “extreme PTSD” from childhood trauma.