No Charges for Officer Who Shot and Killed Domestic Violence Suspect

This is an update to a prior article regarding the officer involved shooting that took place on May 25, 2022.

Douglas County District Attorney, Wesenberg provided a detailed account of the two separate events leading up to the officer involved shooting of the suspect, 60-year-old Spencer Cassanova Heckathorne.

Wesenberg’s presentation cited that; immediately after the event, the Douglas County Major Crimes Team (MCT) was activated. The MCT, under the direction and supervision of Oregon State Police Sergeant First Class Eric Fisher, conducted an immediate, thorough and exhaustive investigation into the events that ultimately led to the shooting. Subsequently, on Tuesday June 7, 2022 the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office convened a grand jury to conduct its own investigation. The grand jury was also thorough and exhaustive. The grand jury heard sworn testimony from 6 eyewitnesses. After careful and thoughtful deliberation, the grand jury concluded that the use of deadly physical force by the officer involved was justified.

“Not only was it extremely justified, based on the deliberate and intentional actions of Spencer Cassanova Heckathorne, it was unavoidable,” stated DA Wesenberg. Thanks to the efforts of Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy, Taylor Vian (who is also a member of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Crisis Negotiating Team), Myrtle Creek Police Chief Jonathan Brewster and his team of officers, Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Brent Everett and Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Melvin, ultimately prevented Heckathorne from taking the life of another. “These officers, these brave men, reacted with great skill, professionalism and restraint. All the officers involved these two separate encounters acted with great skill, professionalism and restraint. They did everything in their power to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution. It was not to be.”

After his presentation, DA Wesenberg introduced Douglas County Sheriff, John Hanlin. Sheriff Hanlin commended the responding officers for their response and attempt to de-escalate the situation without the use of force. “To the involved law enforcement officers; I commend you for acting with great professionalism and restraint while attempting to de-escalate,” Hanlin said. “You acted according to the laws of this state, and in accordance with policies, procedures and your training.” Sheriff Hanlin addressed Heckathorne’s family and friends as well saying “I assure you that his death is not the outcome the law enforcement officers wanted in this situation. My agency wishes to express their deepest sympathies for your loss.”

Courtesy of Douglas County DA