Josephine County sergeant cleared in fatal shooting

GRANTS PASS — A district attorney says a Josephine County sheriff's sergeant was justified in killing a man who pulled a gun on him last month outside a Dairy Queen in Cave Junction.

District Attorney Ryan Mulkins says Jeff Burleson had been arrested in Florida for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence by strangulation. After posting bail, he removed an electronic monitoring device and went to Oregon.

Mulkins says Sgt. James Geiger and other officers saw a pickup associated with Burleson Jan. 12, and followed it into the Dairy Queen parking lot.

Police approached and told Burleson and the driver to put their hands up. Instead, Mulkins says, Burleson pushed the driver aside and pointed a handgun at Geiger, who shot Burleson in the hand, arm and chest. All three shots fired by Geiger struck Burleson.

The day before the shooting, the U.S. Marshals Service notified Josephine County authorities Burleson was in the Cave Junction area. The next day, federal, state and county officers worked to locate him.

Police said Burleson also reportedly had fired a gun at a house in Cave Junction a few days previously. In 2017 in Florida, Burleson was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence by strangulation and felon in possession of a gun. While he was out on bail, he cut the electronic monitor off his ankle Oct. 31 and fled to Cave Junction, Mulkins said.


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