Torso wounds killed teen, autopsy confirms

An autopsy performed on Elias Angel Ruiz has confirmed that he was killed by gunshot wounds to the torso, even though he was wearing a bulletproof vest when Medford police shot him in front of his home Sunday afternoon.

Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau declined to comment on why Ruiz, 18, was wearing a bulletproof vest before the shooting.

Medford police responded to Ruiz's home in the 800 block of Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday to handle a domestic dispute involving Ruiz and his family.

Police said Ruiz was making suicidal threats to police dispatchers. His mother was heard crying in the background.

Officers rushed to the scene after dispatchers said Ruiz had armed himself with a knife, locked himself inside the house and struck himself with an unknown object, officials said.

The mother and her 13-year-old son had left the house before officers arrived. Officers attempted to call Ruiz at the scene. They found the front door locked, Medford Police Chief Tim George said.

When Ruiz appeared on the front porch, he brandished a butcher knife and an officer attempted to use a stun gun to subdue him, George said. Officers shot Ruiz when the stun gun failed.

George said he couldn't confirm how far the officer was standing from Ruiz. Stun guns can either be used up close or from a distance of about 15 feet away.

Jackson County Medical Examiner Dr. James Olson determined Ruiz's manner of death was a homicide, but in this context homicide does not mean a criminal killing had occurred, police explained.

The shooting death is being investigated by the Jackson County Major Assault/Death Investigation Unit and will be submitted to a grand jury following the investigation, Budreau said.

Ruiz did not have a criminal history as an adult, but since summer 2010 he had been referred to Juvenile Services four times for misdemeanor offenses, according to county records.

In July 2010, he was charged with third-degree criminal mischief and given community service, which he completed, Deputy Director Joe Ferguson said.

Later that month he was charged with menacing and attempted assault in connection with a fight with another teenager. The charges were eventually dismissed.

In December 2010, Ruiz was charged with fourth-degree assault for his part in another fight involving boys his own age. Ruiz is believed to have instigated that fight, Ferguson said.

Finally, in July 2011, he was ordered to a diversion program for being a minor in possession of intoxicants.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email

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