EUGENE, Or. – The Eugene City Police Department on Tuesday issued a public apology after a patrol officer accidentally discharged his service weapon during a traffic stop over the weekend and, in doing so, shot a motorist in the foot. “The City of Eugene is working closely with community leaders in an effort to ensure that we are able to avoid an occurrence such as this one in the future,” Eugene Chief of Police Amelia Turner said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
On Saturday, September 17, thirty-four year-old Dylan Roberts of Springfield was traveling east on 6th Avenue in downtown Eugene in a bright red Ford Mustang when police, who were on the lookout for a stolen vehicle of the same make and model, initiated a traffic stop. During the stop, officers learned that Roberts had a warrant out for his arrest for the murder of his wife and three children whose dismembered bodies were found wrapped in a plastic tarp in the Willamette River.
Police immediately called for backup and ordered Roberts to exit the vehicle with his hands in the air. “As the arresting officer approached the vehicle to take Mr. Roberts into custody, he stepped on a section of loose pavement and subsequently lost his balance. As a result, the officer’s weapon discharged, striking Roberts in the foot,” Chief Turner said. Police promptly began administering first aid to Roberts until an ambulance arrived to transport him to an area hospital.
David Hazzard, Jr., Roberts’ defense attorney, told the Eugene Weekly that his client will not file charges against the Eugene Police Department or the officer responsible for the shooting. “My client has agreed to accept a public apology from the City of Eugene in exchange for reduced charges,” Hazzard said. A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office confirmed to Real News Right Now that the charges levied against Mr. Roberts have been reduced from first degree murder to negligent homicide.
Roberts isn’t the first motorist to be shot by police this week. On Friday, officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed African-American man, who had stopped his vehicle after experiencing car trouble. An attorney representing the female officer involved in the fatal shooting said she was forced to shoot Mr. Crutcher when he attempted to reach through the closed drivers’ side window of his vehicle for an unknown object.