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Report: Officer fired nine rounds at St. Helens suspect, killing him

Released details show Josiah Fischer showed a gun before one officer opened fire on him


by: COURTESY OF THE COLUMBIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - The Sheriff's Office released a photo May 9 showing Josiah Fischer's car in a ditch at the intersection of Hazen and Stone Roads May 3. The two Oregon State Police patrol cars were driven by Troopers Robin May and Justin Oxenrider. According to new information released by investigators, Oxenrider fired nine rounds at Fischer after the 27-year-old St. Helens man displayed a gun. Fischer died at the scene.An Oregon State Police trooper fired a total of nine rounds at a St. Helens man, killing him following a high-speed chase May 3, new information released by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office reveals.

Until now, the Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the shooting, has released few details. An investigation is still pending, Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said, and the two OSP troopers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave.

In a press conference May 9, investigators said Trooper Justin Oxenrider had attempted to pull over Josiah M. Fischer for driving 78 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone May 3. Instead, Fischer sped off, reaching speeds over 100 mph. Trooper Robin May joined the pursuit after Fischer turned off the highway onto Millard Road and from there to Bennett Road in Warren.

The chase ended with the front end of Fischer's car in a ditch on the west side of Hazen Road just past the Stone Road intersection.

The troopers angled their cars to face the passenger side of Fischer's car. According to Dickerson, Oxenrider got out of the patrol car and told Fischer to show his hands, a verbal command recorded on a portion of the trooper's car video system. Fischer held up a firearm — later identified as a black Ruger .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Seeing the firearm, Oxenrider fired a total of nine rounds from his own gun. May did not fire any shots.

Undersheriff Andy Moyer would not comment on whether Fischer had pointed the firearm at the officers. The troopers and two arriving St. Helens police officers performed first aid on Fischer. They requested Life Flight, but by the time paramedics arrived Fischer was dead.

Fischer's gun was loaded with a round in the chamber and additional rounds in the magazine, detectives said.

All reports generated by the investigation will be submitted to District Attorney Stephen Atchison, who will determine whether or not the officers reacted appropriately. Atchison also has the option of passing the case on to the grand jury.

Initial police agency press releases about the shooting identified Fischer as a woman.

Little else is known about Fischer at this time. He was convicted of felony theft in 2008. According to a former co-worker at St. Helens Computer Center where Fischer had been employed in 2011, Fischer grew up and resided in St. Helens. Members of his family still live there.