The Oregon Department of Justice announced Thursday its investigation into a deadly Tigard police shooting has concluded. A grand jury declined to indict Officer Gabriel Maldonado for shooting and killing Jacob Macduff on Jan. 6.
“This was a very tragic situation resulting in the death by a police officer of an allegedly mentally unwell person,” state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said. “However, I am satisfied with the Washington County grand jury’s conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to warrant criminal charges being brought against Officer Maldonado.”
Police said officers responded to an apartment complex for reports of domestic violence and found Macduff locked in his truck armed with a knife. After attempts to talk Macduff from the vehicle failed, officers attempted to force him from the vehicle. During the ensuing struggle, Maldonado shot and killed Macduff.
Macduff’s mother, Maria Macduff, said her son experienced bipolar disorder and was progressing “into an acute psychotic state” in the days leading up to the fatal shooting.
Maria Macduff said a police officer called her during the standoff and asked if she would talk to her son. The officer placed her on hold and never came back.
“They had responded to calls about his behavior that previous week,” Macduff said in a May press conference. “I told them also that he had a mental illness. I made sure they knew that he was confused and probably terrified.”
Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton asked the DOJ to conduct the investigation in part because of a new law changing how officers are allowed to use deadly force in the state.
The shooting happened days after HB 4301 went into effect. That law requires officers “consider alternatives” to physical and deadly force and mandates officers give a verbal warning and a reasonable opportunity to comply before using force if “a reasonable opportunity to do so exists.”
“I am requesting the Attorney General’s Office review the investigation and make the determination regarding criminal responsibility,” Barton wrote in a May letter to the Oregon DOJ. “Your review of the evidence and application of HB 4301 to that evidence will provide the independent evaluation I believe is necessary, given the concerns I have developed regarding this incident.”
Prior to the deadly shooting, Maldonado had accepted a job with the Port of Portland police department. That hiring process was put on hold after the shooting, pending the outcome of the investigation. Maldonado was allowed to return to duty in March and after the Port of Portland was incorrectly told he had been cleared in the investigation, the hiring process resumed.
Maldonado resigned from the Tigard police department in April and started at the Port of Portland four days later. After OPB reported that Maldonado had started his new job while still under investigation, he was put on leave from his new job at the Port of Portland and ultimately fired.
In a statement Thursday evening, the Tigard police department said it will now conduct its own internal review of the case. The use of force review board will be made up of five people who were not involved in the shooting, including one officer from a different law enforcement agency.
An attorney representing Maria Macduff filed a tort claim notice with the city of Tigard in April in order to preserve the family’s right to sue the city. A lawsuit has not yet been filed.