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District Attorney's Office rules two officers acted reasonably when Chelsea Fresh threatened them with a rifle last November



The Washington County District Attorney's Office has cleared two Beaverton Police Department officers who shot and killed a woman last fall after she threatened police and then came toward them with a rifle.Beaverton Police

Chelsea Breeze Fresh, 29, was killed on Nov. 20, 2014. She was shot four times outside her home across the street from the Conestoga Recreation Center and died from the gunshot injuries.

The officers who fired a total of eight rounds from their AR-15 rifles, were James Beane and Daniel Coulson. Officer Chester Lamb fired a less-lethal round that also struck Fresh.

In a letter to Beaverton Police Chief Geoff Spalding, Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeff Lesowski concluded that the officers committed no crime and his office declined to present the case to a grand jury.

“At the time the officers fired, the only reasonable conclusion was that she was about to use deadly force against them,” Lesowski wrote.

According to the account in Lesowski’s letter, officers responded when Fresh’s boyfriend called 911 to report that she was intoxicated, had assaulted him, threatened to kill him, was attempting to get a knife and was a danger to herself. He said she was angry over news that she was losing custody of her child.

The boyfriend told arriving officers that there were two rifles in the house but no ammunition. However, during the ensuing negotiations, she made statements that she planned to “shoot it out with police” and that she was “locked and loaded.”

The letter describes a highly agitated Fresh, who refused to surrender during the nearly half-hour incident. At the end, she came out of the house and approached officers while pointing a rifle at them, prompting them to shoot. Her rifle proved to be unloaded.

Lesowski’s letter was dated March 25 but released to media this week, following the conclusion of an investigation by the Washington County Major Crimes Unit. The investigation, led by Tigard and Tualatin detectives, took longer than usual due to complex toxicology testing conducted on Fresh, Lesowski wrote.

Those tests showed that Fresh had a blood-alcohol content of .19 percent (more than twice the legal limit for driving) and also had ingested prescription medications designed to treat depression, sleep problems and seizures.

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