Happy Valley woman gets 10 years for permanently injuring cop
Yvette Lares Garcia, 37, has pleaded guilty to shooting Gladstone Police Sgt. Travis Hill at her home in Happy Valley during a welfare check that she requested for her dogs while on the way to jail. Hill had arrested Garcia in November 2021 after police said they saw her commit a traffic violation in the city of Gladstone.
On. Oct. 12, Clackamas County Circuit Judge Cody M. Weston sentenced Garcia to 10 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed for attempted aggravated murder under Oregon law. She is also required to pay Hill a $50,000 compensatory fine for injuries that caused permanent injury; he has since left the law enforcement profession.
During the traffic stop, Gladstone officers discovered Garcia had active felony warrants for embezzlement charges of over $1 million in Texas, where she now faces extradition for additional prosecution. Before going to Clackamas County Jail, Garcia requested that Hill and Gladstone Officer Clement Lau stop by her home to check on her dogs, identified as "full or partial American Staffordshire terriers" in court documents.
American Staffordshire terriers are also known as pit bulls, which have been the subject of various exclusionary regulations in jurisdictions nationwide based on the perception that these dogs originally bred for fighting are more violent or aggressive than other types of dog breeds.
In court documents, Garcia's defense attorney Michael Romano asked the judge to exclude evidence or any questions from prosecutors about the breed of Garcia's dogs, which Romano said might lead to incorrect assumptions about the propensity for aggression or violence on the part of dogs or their owner.
Clackamas County prosecutors responded that the breed of Garcia's dogs might come up in cross-examination during the trial, but the prosecution refused to withhold evidence about how Garcia told Hill she would not go back to jail just before shooting him, hitting him in the lower leg and grazing his arm.
The two officers then exchanged gunfire with Garcia. Although both officers yelled at Garcia to drop her gun multiple times, she refused, according to the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office. One of Garcia's bullets struck right above the garage door where Lau was taking cover.
Garcia was hit in the torso multiple times. Lau was not hit. As other officers arrived, they immediately rendered aid to Garcia and Hill until an ambulance arrived.
Gladstone officers had agreed to stop at Garcia's Happy Valley residence on the way to jail to secure the dogs for Clackamas County Dog Control.
At the residence, still handcuffed, Garcia joined the officers as they entered the house to assist with the dogs. Lau secured one dog on a leash, but the other dog ran upstairs. Hill and Garcia went upstairs to secure the second dog, while Lau remained in the garage, according to the Clackamas County district attorney account of the events.
Hill found the second dog was in Garcia's room. Garcia stood on one side of the bed while Sgt. Hill moved to the foot of the bed to coax the dog onto a leash. Just before shooting the officer, Garcia drew Hill's attention away from her for a moment, and when he looked back Garcia held a 9mm semi-automatic handgun in her hands, having likely retrieved it from a nearby nightstand.
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