Grand Jury Determines Hernandez Shooting Justified

File Photo of Officer Taylor Herbst, Klamath Falls City Police Department (Image by: Chuck Collins)

Emilio John Cruz Hernandez, was shot and killed following an arrest attempt by KFPD Officer Taylor Herbst. The Klamath County Grand Jury has determined that the officer involved shooting was justified.  (Klamath County Sherrif's Office)

Klamath Falls News has received a letter written by the Foreman of the Klamath County Grand Jury.  This letter comes to us in the form of a press release from Eve Costello, Klamath County District Attorney. 

It reads:

Dear Community Members,

We, the Klamath County Grand Jury, having reviewed the officer involved shooting which occurred on November 24, 2017 have determined that the shooting was justified.  We reached our conclusion after a careful examination of all the evidence.  This included the video footage from the body camera, the investigation conducted by the Oregon State Police, the testimony of a DPSST training officer, the testimony of Klamath Falls Police Department Officers, two neighborhood witnesses and the testimony of Officer Taylor Herbst.

Law enforcement officers consistently put their lives at risk in order to protect the community.  As part of their duty to protect, we authorize them to carry deadly weapons.  Unfortunately, there are times when suspects’ behaviors and interactions with law enforcement place an officer’s life and the lives of other community members in danger.  At times like this, the officer is justified in using deadly force.   In this case, given the facts and circumstances known to Officer Herbst at the time of her encounter with Mr. Hernandez, and Mr. Hernandez’s possession of a firearm and physical altercation with her, the use of force by Officer Herbst was justified.

We regret that circumstances arose that forced Officer Herbst into making a decision law enforcement officers never want to have to make. We also extend deepest sympathy to Mr. Emilio Hernandez’s family.

Respectfully and In Service,
— Foreman, Klamath County Grand Jury