Hillsboro man fatally shot by Clackamas County deputy
Nathan Thomas Honeycutt, 26, was reportedly shot and killed by a CCSO deputy during a Sept. 27 traffic stop.
A 26-year-old Hillsboro man was shot and killed by a Clackamas County Sheriff's Office deputy early Monday morning, authorities said.
At approximately 2 a.m. Honeycutt was reportedly driving a white Ford ranger pickup truck without license plates in the area of Southeast 145th Avenue and King Road in Happy Valley.
Three CCSO deputies attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle, yet Honeycutt did not stop nor respond to the lights and siren and instead continued to drive through Happy Valley, police said.
Rather than pursue Honeycutt, deputies reportedly observed as he steered his vehicle down a roadway with no outlet. Following a Sept. 16 high-speed chase of an alleged shoplifter that ended in a fatal crash, Clackamas Sheriff Angela Brandenburg directed deputies to pursue vehicles only when there is reasonable suspicion a felony, or when the suspect's driving is deemed dangerous enough to threaten other drivers or pedestrians. ]
Before Honeycutt returned from the dead-end road, deputies set up spike strips which Honeycutt drove over as he returned, deflating his vehicle's tires.
Honeycutt attempted to flee on deflated tires, but deputies caught up with the vehicle and were able to stop the truck at 145th Avenue and Ridgecrest Road, per police reports.
After exiting the vehicle, Honeycutt reportedly resisted as the three deputies attempted to take him into custody. During the struggle, Honeycutt produced a handgun and was shot by an unnamed deputy, after which deputies began attempting lifesaving measures, police reported.
Honeycutt died on the scene. His identity was reportedly verified during an autopsy performed the following morning by the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office.
CCSO's three deputies involved in the shooting — Jansen Bento, Sam Tharpe and Matt Roach — are on administrative leave. CCSO and prosecutors will review the incident — standard practice following a police shooting — and will interview each involved deputy in the coming days, according to police reports.
During the struggle, one deputy sustained minor hand injuries and was treated from a local hospital. The deputy has since been released.
Police later determined that the vehicle Honeycutt was driving had been stolen in the city of Portland.
An investigation into the matter is being led by CCSO and the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team with assistance from state police and officers from Gladstone, Tualatin, Oregon City and Milwaukie.
Clackamas County's District Attorney's Office said investigators are seeking assistance from anyone with further information or anyone who saw a white, Ford Ranger truck in the area of Happy Valley between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Monday. Area residents are also asked to review their security camera systems to see if they captured a vehicle matching the description.
Sophia Covoci and her husband heard the gunshots in back of their home in what they described as a generally quiet and peaceful neighborhood. The couple immigrated from Romania more than 20 years ago and said nothing like this has ever happened around them.
Their daughter, Simona Blada, told KOIN 6 News that her father "heard a lot of shooting." She said he heard four shots and then the police and fire responders.
Honeycutt is the second suspect who has been killed in Happy Valley by CCSO deputies since the June 7 fatal shooting of Jeremiah Lee Wright. Happy Valley resident Brian Fitzgerald, a frequent and persistent critic of the Wright shooting, recently forced Clackamas County to change its policies after his mail to county commissioners was allegedly waylaid by county attorneys.
County Chair Tootie Smith wrote back to Fitzgerald on Sept. 23, according to public records, saying that "the situation has been corrected" so he and other citizens with grievances can contact their elected officials directly. Pamplin Media Group has obtained other public records from county staff who said they decided to send Fitzgerald's correspondence to the county's attorney, instead of to the commissioners addressed by Fitzgerald.
"I did not direct staff to divert any mail from you or anyone else to county counsel's office," Smith wrote to Fitzgerald. "I believe strongly that constituents should have access to their elected officials."
Fitzgerald said that he will be pursuing a case of U.S. mail fraud against the county.
"They blocked everything because it made the shadow government look bad," Fitzgerald said. "My constitutional rights have been violated. How? By preventing my ability to petition my elected reps for redress of grievances."
Clackamas Review Editor Raymond Rendleman contributed to this news report.
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