Report absolves officer in shooting


Charges pending for burglary suspect

by: HOLLY M. GILL - After a burglary suspect was shot by a police officer on April 26, the suspect was airlifted to St. Charles Bend. A review of the incident, completed June 4, has cleared the officer, who had repeatedly asked the man, Zande Joshua Barnacascel, 56, to drop his weapon.Following a five-week investigation into an officer-involved shooting on April 26, Jefferson County District Attorney Steve Leriche announced Tuesday that deadly force was appropriate.

The incident in question began around 2:15 p.m., when the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office received a report of a burglary on Fern Lane, about four miles north of Madras, on U.S. Highway 97. A man fled the scene when a woman arrived at her house and spotted him inside.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Zande Joshua BarnacascelOregon State Police, the Madras, Warm Springs, and Bend police departments, and the Deschutes and Crook County Sheriff's Office joined the Sheriff's Office in the search for the man, who abandoned his sport-utility vehicle in a wooded area and fled on foot. Law enforcement agencies then learned that the man was Zande Joshua Barnacascel, 56, a fugitive felon from Montana.

"In addition to a valid warrant for his arrest, there was probable cause to believe he had engaged in criminal conduct in Jefferson County, Ore.," Leriche noted in a press release. "Law enforcement was advised that Barnacascel possessed violent tendencies and was an escape risk."

The fugitive was spotted by a surveillance plane near Darrar Drive, and law enforcement officers hiked into the hilly and wooded area to arrest Barnacascel.

"Oregon State Police Sgt. Mike Turner located the suspect and observed he was armed with the handgun," Leriche wrote. "Sgt. Turner gave multiple verbal commands to Barnacascel to drop the weapon, but he refused to comply and continued moving, using the trees for cover."

Officers gave Barnacascel additional verbal commands, but he refused to drop his weapon, "leading Sgt. Turner to fire his service shotgun at the suspect." When he failed to comply, Turner fired two more times at the suspect, and Barnacascel fell to the ground.

Turner and OSP trooper Matt Gordon moved in and secured the suspect and his loaded semi-automatic handgun. Officials administered first-aid to Barnacascel before he was airlifted to St. Charles Bend.

Criminal charges are pending against Barnacascel, who "made a statement at the time to the effect that he wished to die."

"During this incident, Sgt. Turner was justified in using deadly physical force under the circumstances he encountered and it was reasonable for him to believe that his life and the life of others were endangered," Leriche wrote.

Oregon State Police issued a statement that Turner will be returning to regular duty by mid-June.

Leriche thanked the agencies involved with the Central Oregon Major Crime Team for "a thorough and detailed investigation of this event."

Barnacascel was released from the hospital May 10, to a third party, after posting security of $5,000.