The Klamath County Grand Jury declared the Nov. 12 officer-involved shooting at the 300 block of Laguna Street justified after reviewing evidence.
According to a press release by the grand jury’s foreperson, the grand jury reviewed witness statements, officer testimonies, the 911 call, body camera footage and state statutes on defensive use of force.
Klamath Falls Police Sgt. Maury Smith shot and injured Robert Faulkner after responding to a domestic disturbance call and reports that Faulkner was seeking suicide by cop. The statement says that Faulkner was behind a bush next to the property and didn’t comply with Smith’s directions.
“Sergeant Smith shouted directions at Faulkner to show his hands. Mr. Faulkner pointed a gun at Sergeant Smith. Sergeant Smith fired his service weapon injuring Mr. Faulkner. Law enforcement immediately rendered emergency medical services in a compassionate and professional manner. Mr. Faulkner was transferred to Emergency Medical Services and transported for medical care,” the statement said.
The investigation into the incident also revealed that Faulkner’s gun was an Airsoft or BB gun that he modified to look like a real gun.
“Law enforcement routinely place their lives at risk when responding to volatile domestic disturbances. Unfortunately, there are times when a suspect’s behaviors and interactions with law enforcement create circumstances where it is reasonable for an officer to believe their life and the lives of community members are in danger. At such times, an officer is justified in using deadly force. Sergeant Maury Smith was confronted with such a scenario,” the foreperson wrote.
“We regret the circumstances that forced Sergeant Smith into a decision law enforcement never wants to have to make. Mr. Faulkner is very fortunate to have survived. We hope he obtains the services he needs to address his mental health condition.”