This morning just after 6:30am, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a resident in the 1500blk of Concord Ave. in Eugene stating that an unknown man had been pacing back and forth on the resident’s property. The caller told the man to leave via their video doorbell speaker, but the man declared the property belonged to him, and he was going to start killing people.
Deputies arrived and contacted the man, at which time he brandished a knife and charged at the deputies. The deputies quickly maneuvered to create distance but remained in verbal and visual contact. Deputies continued conversing with the man in attempts to de-escalate him and convince him to put his knife down. Springfield Police Officers and Oregon State Police Troopers responded while deputies were in contact.
The presence of a Springfield Police K9, use of less-than-lethal pepper-balls, sponge impact projectiles, and deputies’ verbal crisis intervention techniques deescalated the man’s behavior. He eventually sat down and threw the knife out of his reach. He was then taken into custody.
No one in the incident received serious injury. Lane County Sheriff Cliff Harrold said, “This was an example of our deputies suddenly being faced with a lethal threat that could have ended tragically. We are thankful for the quick-thinking of our deputies and the other responding officers. We are proud of the way they quickly recognized and responded to this highly unpredictable, violent situation and possible mental health crisis. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office appreciates the assistance provided by the Springfield Police Department and Oregon State Police in successfully resolving this critical incident”.
The man was identified as 49-year-old Paul Fitzgerald Smith. Smith was transported and lodged at the Lane County Jail on charges including Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree, Menacing, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
All suspects are considered innocent until any/all charges are proven true against them in a court of law.