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Medford police Chief Tim George explains Wednesday how Andrew Charles Shipley fired a gun at police under a partially opened garage door. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell

Police add details on Tuesday's fatal shooting

A 49-year-old man killed Tuesday in a shootout with police had four loaded guns in the house and had apparently killed a dog just moments before police killed him.

Medford Police Chief Tim George relayed that information to media at the second formal press conference convened since several Medford police officers opened fire on 49-year-old Andrew Charles Shipley, ending a 19-hour standoff at 360 Argyle Court.

The final chapter began to unfold when police heard a gunshot inside the house just before 10:30 a.m. A few moments later, police said, Shipley raised the garage door slightly and fired in the direction of gathered officers. At least seven officers returned fire, killing him.

"I can't tell you what his position was, but I can tell you he was not standing, and he was not outside the residence," George said. "He shot from inside his garage with the garage door up a short distance."

George said he isn't sure what caused the standoff to unravel into such a tragic ending, saying police and mental health workers had been in regular communication with Shipley via phone and text.

Investigators believe the first shot police heard, two to three minutes before the final confrontation, came when Shipley shot one of two dogs in the home's living room.

"That's what we suspect the first shot was," George said. "There was some indication that some of that round or fragments of that round exited that residence, and officers did see something exit that residence."

About seven seconds elapsed between the first and last gunshots once police opened fire. Police later recovered a rifle, shotgun and two handguns from the home, all loaded. 

Four officers and three police supervisors who fired their weapons remain on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit, led by Oregon State Police. A grand jury will determine whether the shooting was justified, which is standard in officer-involved shootings.

The shifts of those on leave will be covered through overtime and shuffling of schedules. "You're not going to notice it," George said.

The situation on Argyle Court started with several domestic disturbance calls Sunday, which police believe were linked to Shipley's declining mental state and an attempt by his girlfriend to evict him. No arrests were made, because there wasn't enough information to make an arrest at that point, George said.

That changed Monday morning when police learned about the guns in the house and threats of violence Shipley had allegedly made, which brought numerous police and mental health workers to the scene, George said.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

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