Marion Co. Dist. Attorney's Office
State Trooper Cleared in I-5 Shooting - 11/13/15
Today a Marion County Grand Jury unanimously found that Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Jason Perrizo was justified in using deadly force when he shot and killed Jasper Levi Adams, date of birth 12-5-79, on the evening of October 28, 2015.
On Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at approximately 5:45 p.m. Sr Trooper Charlie Burdick noticed a 1970 Ford Bronco traveling south on I-5 near milepost 267, just south of Woodburn. The driver and lone occupant was later determined to be Jasper Levi Adams.
Sr Trooper Burdick observed Adams speeding and driving erratically and attempted to stop him by activating his emergency lights. Instead of stopping, Adams accelerated away from Sr. Trooper Burdick and began what turned into a 17 mile, high speed chase, all of which was captured on a dash camera video. Near the beginning of the chase Adams can be seen throwing an unknown object from his vehicle.
During much of the chase, Adams was driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph and weaving in and out of traffic, often traveling on either shoulder of the interstate in an attempt to elude police. At approximately 5 ?1/2 minutes into the chase he appears to cause another vehicle to spin out off the road. (Note: while it is unclear if Adams struck the other vehicle no one has contacted law enforcement to report that he did.)
As the chase continued other troopers joined in an effort to clear the interstate and to stop Adams. North of the Mission Street exit troopers successfully placed a spike strip that damaged the right front tire of Adams' vehicle.
Subsequently, Adams slowed and appeared to be pulling over on the west side of I-5 under the Mission St overpass. However, as troopers attempted to box in his vehicle, Adams then drove into the grassy area south of the overpass and began heading towards the southbound I-5 on-ramp from Mission St. Believing that Adams was attempting to enter the on-ramp in the wrong direction, troopers attempted to use their vehicles to pin Adams to a stop.
Despite collisions with two different State Police vehicles, Adams was able to escape, spin around, and re-enter I-5 going south and the pursuit continued.
Shortly after Adams crossed under the Battlecreek overpass his right front tire blew and he began to slow and pull over towards the west side shoulder of I-5. As Adams was coming to a stop, Sgt Mark Davie used his State Police SUV to pin Adams' vehicle and push it just off the roadway as the other troopers boxed him in. The troopers then immediately exited their vehicles and began shouting at Adams to, "Get your hands up."
Instead of showing his hands as ordered, Adams turned away from the troopers and toward the console area of his vehicle, apparently searching for something. He then quickly spun back toward the troopers, yelling at them as he raised a handgun.
One of the dash camera videos clearly depicts that just as one trooper yelled, "He's got a gun," Sr Trooper Jason Perrizo fired a single shot at Adams striking him in the head and killing him.
The whole encounter, from the time Adams' vehicle came to a complete stop until he was shot, lasted approximately 12 seconds. The distance between Sr Trooper Perrizo and Adams was approximately 10 feet. The other troopers were approximately the same distance from Adams but at different angles.
The gun Adams was armed with was a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun. When police secured that gun they found that it was loaded. Also, it had a 45 caliber bullet lodged in the barrel, consistent with Adams having pulled the trigger and the gun jamming or "stove-piping."
The Marion County Sheriff's Office conducted the investigation and the Marion County District Attorney's Office presented the evidence to the Grand Jury.
In making their decision the Grand Jury heard testimony from the four involved troopers, including Sr Trooper Perrizo. They also reviewed the medical examiner's report, scene diagrams and pictures, as well as the videos from the State Police dash cameras and applied that evidence to the legal principles regarding the use of deadly force. Specifically, the Grand Jury found that Sr Trooper Jason Perrizo's use of deadly force was lawful and justified because,
the use of deadly physical force was necessary to defend the police officer or another person from the use or threatened imminent use of deadly physical force; and
the officer's life or personal safety was endangered in the particular circumstance involved.
Jason Perrizo is an Army veteran and has been a trooper with the Oregon State Police since 2001. He has been a member of the Oregon State Police SWAT for the last 11 years. In 2006 he received the Harold R Berg Life Saving Award.