Officers Who Shot Gunman Say They Aren't Heroes

By Conrad Wilson (OPB)
Oct. 7, 2015 6:41 p.m.

Law enforcement officials in Roseburg, Oregon, released new details Wednesday about last week’s shooting at Umpqua Community College. Police announced the two officers who shot the gunman were justified in their use of deadly force.


Speaking at a press conference Wednesday morning, police identified the two Roseburg Police Department detectives who engaged the gunman.

Officials said two detectives with the Roseburg Police Department — Joe Kaney and Todd Spingath — were on the scene last Thursday, about six minutes after the first 911 calls came.
"Immediately they bailed out of their car and went straight – straight to the gun fire," said Douglas County District Attorney Rick Wesenberg at the press conference.
It's the first time police identified the two Roseburg Police Department detectives who engaged the shooter.
Wesenberg said the detectives were dressed in plain clothes and without bulletproof vests as they ran towards Snyder Hall, knowing that there were at least 35 students in one of the classrooms.
The two detectives saw the gunman in the door frame at the entrance to Snyder Hall, he said. And then a muzzle flash from a handgun.
"The shooter shot several rounds at Det. Kaney and Det. Spingath," Wesenberg said.
Seconds later, Wesenberg said the detectives thought they had a good target, so they fired their .40 caliber handguns.
"One round struck the shooter on the right side," he said. "Once the shooter was wounded, he entered the classroom again, he went to the front of the classroom and shot and killed himself."
After reviewing the case, Wesenberg said lethal force by officers was justified. By acting quickly, he said, they saved lives.
Roseburg Police Chief Jim Burge said the detectives have nearly 40 years of combined experience with the department.
"I, like many other people in this community, consider them to be heroes," he said. "They knew that they could be injured or killed during this confrontation."
Both detectives Kaney and Spingath are military veterans.
Both were also decorated with medals from the Oregon Peace Officers Association for their involvement in a 2005 shooting.
"The shooting at UCC showed what amazing character your police officers have," Burge said.
On Friday, President Obama's is scheduled to visit Roseburg and meet with the families of the victims.
At a second press conference Wednesday, Douglas County Commissioner Susan Morgan, welcomed the president to the area.
"Regardless of our differences with the president on policy issues, we await the president's arrival and look forward to his show of support for a community who is grieving and whose heartache is immeasurable," she said.
Memorial services for the victims are being held over the next few days. A memorial service for Larry Levine has already been held. Memorial services will be held for Jason Johnson on Thursday and Lucero Alcarez on Friday. Separate services will be held for Quinn Cooper, Rebecka Carnes, Lucas Eibel and Treven Anspach, each on Saturday; and services for Kim Saltmarsh-Dietz will be held Sunday.