No Criminal Charges for Man Involved in Fatal Shooting

Here is the link to the original Medford Alert article on the incident.

After a thorough review of all the evidence collected by the Medford Police Department, the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office announced it will not file any criminal charges against DeAngelo McCauley, in relation to the shooting death of Dominique Brown, which occurred on December 11, 2021 in Medford.

The evidence supports that Mr. McCauley’s use of deadly physical force against Mr. Brown was justified self-defense under Oregon law. ORS 161.209 allows a person to use deadly physical force upon another person if the person reasonably believes the other person is using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person. Reasonableness is assessed from the perspective of what a reasonable person would believe under the same circumstances.

Under ORS 161.215, a person is not justified in using deadly physical force if the person was the initial aggressor. In any criminal prosecution, when self-defense is raised as a defense, the state is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that self-defense does not apply. Due to the factual circumstances of this incident, the evidence supports only that Mr. McCauley was justified to use deadly physical force, as he was not the initial aggressor and he reasonably believed Mr. Brown was about to use deadly physical force upon him.

At approximately 6:50 in the morning on December 11, 2021, Medford Police officers were dispatched to a duplex residence in the 800 block of Belmont Street in Medford for reports of multiple gunshots and a male at the location who had been shot. Officers arrived to find Dominique Brown on the ground in front of duplex suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. These initial officers immediately provided life-saving measures, but were unsuccessful. Mr. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 7:02am.

While officers were attending to Mr. Brown, DeAngelo McCauley approached them and announced himself as the shooter. Mr. McCauley cooperated with commands by officers and was taken into custody as the investigation proceeded. Detectives then responded to collect physical evidence at the scene and to interview Mr. McCauley and other witnesses.

The investigation revealed Mr. McCauley and Mr. Brown were acquaintances. Earlier in the week, Mr. McCauley and some other members of his family had traveled from California to visit a family member who lived on one side of the duplex where this incident occurred. A woman named Tina Zarate lived on the opposite side of the duplex. In the time she had lived next door, Ms. Zarate and her daughter, Jenisa Cruz, had become friends with Mr. McCauley and his family. Ms. Cruz had started dating Mr. Brown approximately five months prior to this incident.

On the night of December 10, 2021, Ms. Zarate, Ms. Cruz, Mr. Brown, and Mr. McCauley and a few of his family members decided to go out as a group to a local bar in downtown Medford.

Mr. McCauley stated he only had a few drinks during the night, as he was responsible for driving some of the group around. There was no evidence Mr. McCauley was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the shooting. Mr. McCauley stated he did not know Mr. Brown well, as the two had very limited interaction, including on this night. He stated that he had no prior issues with Mr. Brown.

Multiple members of the group told investigators the same, stating they had not observed any issues between the two men. During the night out, Mr. Brown and Ms. Cruz separated from the group after the two had an argument. Mr. McCauley stated he recalled Mr. Brown grabbing a bag from Ms. Cruz during their argument and walking away with it. Mr. Brown and Ms. Cruz never rejoined the group. Mr. McCauley and the others finished their night without them at another local bar and returned to the duplex in the early morning hours of December 11, 2021.

When the group arrived back there, Ms. Zarate returned to her side of the duplex and went to bed. At around 4:30am, Mr. Brown was captured on her Ring video doorbell approaching her door and ringing the doorbell. Ms. Zarate did not wake up to answer the door and Mr. Brown left. Mr. Brown appeared intoxicated in the Ring video doorbell footage. At 5:14am, Ms. Zarate received a call from Ms. Cruz, who asked for her car keys. Ms. Zarate had taken her keys earlier in the night to prevent Ms. Cruz from driving intoxicated. Ms. Cruz explained she needed her car keys because Mr. Brown was missing a bag with approximately $4,000 inside, and he suspected the bag was in her vehicle. Between 6:30am and 6:45am, Ms. Cruz called Ms. Zarate four more times. Ms. Cruz explained in one of the calls that Mr. Brown had now broken one of the windows of her vehicle to get inside and still could not find the missing bag. In the last call, Ms. Zarate could hear Mr. Brown in the background accusing her of stealing the bag and yelling that it was the kind of thing people get killed over. Ms. Zarate also heard Mr. Brown say that he would wait outside her house. Ms. Cruz later described to investigators Mr. Brown’s behavior during this time, stating he was going “crazy” about the missing bag, and it was a new side to him that she had not previously seen during their relationship.

Due to the calls, Ms. Zarate decided to put Ms. Cruz’s car keys in her mailbox outside her door to avoid any further interaction with Ms. Cruz or Mr. Brown. Around this same time, at about 6:45am, Mr. McCauley said he woke up to a “bang” noise. He decided to go outside with his handgun to investigate. Right as he came outside, he heard Ms. Zarate’s door shut on her side of the duplex, so he went over and knocked on her door to check if everything was okay. At this time, Ms. Zarate told Mr. McCauley about what was going on and what she heard Mr. Brown say on the phone, including Mr. Brown’s statements about his missing bag being what people get killed over and that he was going to be outside her house.

After hearing that, Mr. McCauley became concerned that the noise he heard was possibly Mr. Brown hitting and damaging his vehicle, so he walked over to end of the driveway where it was parked to inspect it. As he was standing at the back of his vehicle, he noticed a vehicle approaching on Belmont Street without its headlights on. It was still dark out at this time. Mr. McCauley observed the vehicle stop and Mr. Brown get out and walk over to him. The situation then quickly deteriorated.
Mr. McCauley stated Mr. Brown had his hand in his jacket pocket as he approached. Mr. Brown then got close to him, aggressively getting into his face. Mr. Brown accused him of stealing the missing bag and made threatening comments, telling Mr. McCauley he did not care about him or his family and that this is how people get killed.

Mr. McCauley tried to get Mr. Brown to back off and leave by putting his gun into Mr. Brown’s chest. At the same time, he placed his other hand on Mr. Brown’s jacket pocket and felt what he thought to be a firearm inside. Mr. McCauley said he then tried to deescalate the situation by trying to reason with Mr. Brown, telling him he did not have the missing bag, and in fact, he had seen Mr. Brown take a bag from Ms. Cruz earlier in the night and walk off with it. He described the bag to Mr. Brown. However, it was to no avail, as Mr. Brown concluded that because Mr. McCauley knew what the bag looked like it meant that he had indeed stolen it.

At that moment, Mr. Brown pulled a revolver from his jacket pocket and pointed it at Mr. McCauley and said, “You know what time it is.” This is when Mr. McCauley said he first fired his gun at Mr. Brown. Ultimately, Mr. Brown fired three times during the gun fight, while Mr. McCauley fired nine times as he retreated into the street to gain space. Four of Mr. McCauley’s rounds hit Mr. Brown, fatally wounding him. Mr. McCauley managed to avoid being struck.

Ms. Zarate, the sole eyewitness to the shooting, corroborated details of Mr. McCauley’s account of the incident. She stated she observed Mr. Brown being verbally aggressive when he arrived at the location, yelling about his missing bag, and that he walked up to Mr. McCauley and aggressively got into his face. She stated she also observed Mr. Brown pull what she thought to be a gun and point it at Mr. McCauley immediately before the shooting occurred. She believed Mr. Brown fired the first shot. Surveillance video obtained from a nearby residence did not clearly show the interaction between the two men due to lighting conditions and distance – but it nonetheless further corroborated some details, including that Mr. Brown immediately approached Mr. McCauley after exiting his vehicle and got very close to him moments before the shooting.

At the time of this incident, Mr. McCauley had a valid California concealed carry weapons permit. He has no known prior arrests. Mr. Brown had multiple prior arrests in California to include an arrest for assault with a deadly weapon and a separate arrest for shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied car.

Mr. McCauley stated he ultimately believed his use of deadly physical force against Mr. Brown was necessary to protect his life and possibly the lives of others at the duplex on this night. Ms. Zarate stated she also believed Mr. McCauley might have saved her life in being there when Mr. Brown arrived, as she believed that Mr. Brown was there to kill her. Ms. Cruz described Mr. McCauley as a family friend and that she knew him as a “protector” type.

The Jackson County DA concluded that there is no evidence that Mr. McCauley or any member of the group that night stole the missing bag. Rather, the evidence suggests that this was an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Courtesy of Jackson County District Attorney

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