- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) - A grand jury found that a police officer on the Oregon coast was justified in fatally shooting a man sitting in a smoking car who pointed what turned out to be a toy replica gun at the officer.

After the shooting, State Police investigators determined the gun was an airsoft replica .45-caliber automatic pistol, and that 55-year-old Robert J. Jenkins of Roseburg had recently stopped taking his schizophrenia medications, Douglas County District Attorney Rick Wesenberg said.

Wesenberg told a news conference Friday that Reedsport police Officer Ryan Fauver fired eight times after Jenkins pointed the toy gun, the Roseburg News-Review (http://bit.ly/1ybOfr7) reported.

Jenkins was driving south on U.S. 101 south of Reedsport on Dec. 23 when his engine malfunctioned and he pulled to the side of the road, Wesenberg said. Several people stopped to offer help, but they moved away when they saw what looked like a gun.

“This was just a tragic, tragic event. All of the men and women that were there on the scene, all of their concern was to save Mr. Jenkins and to get him out of the burning vehicle,” Wesenberg said. “Unfortunately, Mr. Jenkins never responded to any of their calls to show his hands, never responded at all other than to display the weapon in an aggressive manner.”

Among those who stopped to help were an off-duty Oregon Department of Justice officer and a school bus driver. When Fauver arrived, he yelled at Jenkins to show his hands and come out.

Fauver told investigators he could see the gun.

The officer broke out a rear window of the car with his baton to let the smoke clear, and when he did, Jenkins aimed the pistol over his left shoulder at the officer, Wesenberg said. Fauver opened fire.

When two Douglas County deputies arrived, they pulled Jenkins from the car. Shortly after that, it burst into flames.

Sounds of small explosions that people thought might be ammunition turned out to be canned food and aerosol cans, investigators found, Wesenberg said.

Jenkins was declared dead at a Roseburg hospital. No one else was injured.

___

Information from: The News-Review, http://www.nrtoday.com

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