A Seaside police officer was "legally and morally" justified in killing a transient who fatally shot his patrol partner moments earlier, the Clatsop County District Attorney announced Tuesday.
Phillip Ferry had methamphetamine, marijuana and alcohol in his system when Seaside Sgt. Jason Goodding and Officer David Davidson tried to arrest him Feb. 5 on a probation violation warrant in downtown Seaside, District Attorney Joshua Marquis said during a morning news conference.
Davidson, a member of the police department since 2012, used a Taser on Ferry after the transient refused to take his hands out of his pockets. The convicted felon repeatedly told the officers before the stun gun was used, "You ain't going to like it," according to Marquis.
As Goodding tried to restrain Ferry on the ground, the transient pulled out a semiautomatic pistol and fired once. The bullet went under the ballistic vest Goodding was wearing. Davidson then fired several times, hitting Ferry three times — in the hand, arm and buttocks, Marquis said.
The severity of Ferry's injures were not immediately clear because he continued to yell at the officers after Davidson fired on him, Marquis said.
Goodding, 39, and Ferry, 55, died later at separate hospitals. Davidson, 28, was not injured and remains on standard paid administrative leave as of Tuesday.
The vest Goodding was wearing was "not foolproof," Marquis said, and he was hit in an exposed part of his body at close range that made his wound "immediate and fatal."
"Medical intervention could not have saved him, even if he had been within two minutes of Legacy Emanuel or OHSU's trauma center," Marquis said, citing a report from the state medical examiner's office.
Clatsop County DA discusses finding of no criminal wrongdoing in Seaside police officer-involved shooting Clatsop County District Attorney Joshua Marquis talks about finding Seaside Police Officer David Davidson justified in shooting Phillip Ferry during a press conference in Astoria on Feb. 16, 2016. Ferry fatally shot Sgt. Jason Goodding moments before Davidson opened fire. The two Seaside officers were trying to arrest Ferry when he resisted and shot Goodding.
Although an Oregon State Police investigation is still ongoing and all the reports aren't complete, Marquis said he thought it appropriate to inform the public that he found no criminal wrongdoing in the shooting of Ferry based on footage from both officers' body cameras.
Portions of Davidson's footage will be released after the state police investigation and DA's office review are complete, which may take several more weeks. A separate federal investigation is ongoing to determine how Ferry got the pistol.
Toxicology results showed Ferry had a "high level" of meth in his system as well as traces of marijuana, Marquis said. His blood alcohol content was 0.117 percent.
Ferry has a long criminal record, which includes convictions for assaulting a public safety officer and resisting arrest. Since 1983, he has been arrested in Clatsop, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill counties, court records show. He had been booked into Clatsop County Jail 41 times since May 1991, according to jail records.
Clatsop County Sheriff talks about need for Oregon sentencing reform, more jail beds Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin discusses his thoughts on hoped reforms to Oregon jail and prison sentencings as well as a need for more jail space in his county during a Feb. 16, 2016 press conference in Astoria.
Of Ferry's 38 convictions since 1983, 21 were for misdemeanors, Marquis said.
Both officers repeatedly identified themselves to Ferry and called him by name when they approached him on Feb. 5, Marquis said. They were aware he had a history of being combative with officers even for minor offenses, according to the district attorney. Ferry's latest post-prison supervision warrant was related to a prior assault of a police officer conviction.
Marquis said Ferry was "given every opportunity" to surrender peacefully. Instead he "not only refused, but made statements that we now realize likely meant he intended to do much worse."
Hundreds of people gathered in Seaside last Friday for Goodding's memorial service. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown presented his wife with the state Medal of Ultimate Sacrifice in honor of the slain police sergeant.
Goodding, who joined the police department in 2003, was the 183rd Oregon law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty since the 1880s, according to the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, and the first officer from the Seaside Police Department.
Both Marquis and Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin said during the news conference that they hoped Goodding's death causes Oregon legislators to seriously reconsider sentencing reforms and budget cuts that reduce jail capacity.
Bergin, who mentioned personally tussling with Ferry in the past, said he believed more laws restricting firearms would not have helped in this case.
"If this man, who's been in my jail 41 times, is still being released and we can't get him to a state prison, you tell me what the problem is," said the sheriff with tears in his eyes.
He added that although he believes in rehabilitation, he feels more people should be incarcerated.
"We have a lot of people roaming the streets in this community and across the state and their bad people," Bergin said. "They need to be held accountable."
Bergin said Davidson is doing fine since the shooting and "realized he did the right thing." The officer attended Goodding's funeral and sat with the slain sergeant's family. Bergin lamented Davidson having to use deadly force so early in his police career.
"None of us in this job wants to hurt anyone," Bergin said. "We're fixers. We're people that want to help."
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