Last Thursday, the district attorney of Lane County, Oregon found that two Eugene officers were justified in the shooting of Charles Landeros, 30, who came armed to a middle school campus, resisted arrest, and fired his 9 mm handgun at officers. On Friday, police released the full bodycam footage of the fatal encounter (below), including slow-motion versions that show Landeros drawing his weapon and firing — missing an officer "by inches" — before the officers shot him.
"Charles Landeros refused to leave Cascade Middle School when asked to do so by school resource officers Steve Timm and Aaron Johns on Jan. 11, according to district attorney Patty Perlow," the Oregonian reports. "Landeros struggled with them when they tried to arrest him and fired two shots at one of the officers, who then fired back and killed Landeros, the district attorney said."
The University of Oregon's Daily Emerald describes Landeros as a U.S. Army veteran, a former student protest leader at UO, a person "who used they/them/theirs pronouns," and "a member of Community Armed Self Defense, a group that was created as a 'new liberatory and inclusive space for all oppressed peoples to learn about armed self-defense.'"
"The police are not here to protect us," the group's Facebook page description reads, the Emerald reports. "They are more likely to harm us themselves than they are to 'serve or protect' us."
According to police, Landeros went to the middle school on January 11 over a conflict with his former spouse about their daughter. Landeros had apparently enrolled his daughter in the school against her mother's wishes. When school officials learned that the mother had sole custody, they called on school resource officers, Aaron Johns and Steve Timm, to remove Landeros. Landeros, who was wearing a "Smash the Patriarchy" shirt, refused and then resisted arrest, attempting to flee outside.
An officer attempted to keep Landeros from running, as the bodycam footage below shows, and Landeros resisted, eventually drawing his concealed firearm. The Oregonian describes the frantic and ultimately fatal moment:
Perlow said the officers then tried to arrest Landeros on suspicion of disorderly conduct and trespassing. Johns pushes Landeros outside through the front doors and Timm follows, the video shows. Landeros yells for Johns to get off him and pushes the officer away.
Landeros and Johns struggle and Landeros pulls out a handgun as he and the officer fall to the ground. Perlow said the video footage shows Landeros pointed the gun at Timm and he fires two rounds that miss the officer.
Timm fired once and hit Landeros in the head.
"Officer Timm saved the life of Officer Johns, himself and perhaps many others given the number of rounds Charles Landeros had loaded in his weapon," said the district attorney. "There is no clearer circumstance that the use of deadly force is justified than this."
Tragically, Landeros' daughter reportedly witnessed the entire confrontation, as did some of the other middle school students.
Officers found that Landeros was carrying a 9mm, which he legally purchased, and "another loaded magazine on his gun belt, had a third magazine in his car and was wearing a backpack that had more bullets for a different caliber firearm," the Oregonian reports. Though Landeros had a concealed carry permit, it is illegal to carry a concealed handgun on the school campus.
When news of the shooting was first reported, the Civil Liberties Defense Center with which Landeros volunteered posted on Facebook that the CLDC community was "shocked and grieving" over Landeros' death, the Daily Emerald noted. "This person, a veteran, former University of Oregon student leader, parent of two and valued community member was at the school to pick up their daughter and was shot by police in front of the entrance," the CLDC wrote.
The CLDC describes itself as a legal group that "represents activists that, in the course of fighting for a better world, are arrested and criminally charged."
Here's the footage (warning: graphic):