Matthew Graves.jpg

Man was shot inside Carl's Jr. bathroom

An altercation that ended with a man shot inside a fast food restaurant bathroom is being described by Eagle Point police as the agency’s first fatal shooting by an officer in at least two decades.

Matthew Thayer Graves, 35, was shot and killed following an altercation with two Eagle Point police officers that started just after 8:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Carl’s Jr. along West Linn Road in Eagle Point, according to Capt. Tim Snaith with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation.

One of the officers suffered a minor injury, according to a press release; Snaith said the officer was struck in the face.

As of Thursday afternoon, Snaith said, the case remained under investigation regarding what type of weapon Graves may have had, how many shots were fired and where the gunshots struck Graves. More details are anticipated Friday when an autopsy is expected to be completed.

What’s known in the early stages of the shooting investigation is that an Eagle Point police officer attempted to “make contact” with Graves in the parking lot of the restaurant, which shares a parking lot with Walmart. Snaith said Graves reportedly ran inside the Carl’s Jr. to the restroom “where a struggle ensued.”

The officer called for backup, drawing a second Eagle Point officer to the scene, where “both officers continued to struggle with the suspect,” according to Snaith.

“At some point, shots were fired,” Snaith said.

It’s not yet known why police initially made contact with Graves, or how long the incident had escalated before deadly force was used. Snaith declined to comment on specifics, saying more would be known after JCSO detectives question the two officers in interviews scheduled for Monday.

Eagle Point Police Chief Darin May said he’s unaware of any other officer-involved shootings involving his agency “in the 20 years I’ve been with the department.”

Both officers are on paid administrative leave until a Grand Jury can review the facts leading up to the shooting. May said other officers have “stepped up” and are working overtime to cover shifts while the officers are on leave, and are able to draw from the sheriff’s office for assistance.

Eagle Point police wore body cameras, and the footage is being reviewed by JCSO, according to May.

The two officers involved were not identified Thursday, but May described them as “fine, upstanding officers.”

May said he’d had a very brief conversation with one of the two officers at the Sheriff’s Office, and said, “he seems to be doing alright.”

“Not much sleep last night for them,” May said.

Detectives with the Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit, made up of officers from the Sheriff’s Department, Oregon State Police, and Medford and Ashland police, responded to the scene after the shooting, as did representatives from the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. Police shut down the intersection of Linn Road and Highway 62 during the investigation.

Jackson County Circuit Court records show a handful of felony convictions for Graves, including 2011 convictions for identity theft and methamphetamine possession.

Detectives are still gathering information, and ask anyone with additional information on the shooting to contact Detective David Seese at 541-774-8304 and refer to Sheriff’s Department case number 18-19902 or Eagle Point police case number 18-6861.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

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