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Deschutes County Sheriff's Deputy Cleared In Black Friday Shooting

<p>Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel presents the findings of an OSP investigation into the shooting.</p>

Emily Cureton


Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel presents the findings of an OSP investigation into the shooting.

The roads were slick with ice and snow when 29-year-old Adam Gilliam allegedly stole a car and fled from Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies.

The chase veered into a crowded shopping mall. It was Black Friday.

Within 20 minutes of a 911 call, a deputy had shot Gilliam three times.

This week Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel declared the shooting legally justified under Oregon’s self-defense law, which applies equally to law enforcement and the general public. The DA found Deputy Clint Baltzor acted to protect himself and others in the path of the stolen car. Police aren’t supposed to shoot people just for running away.

“Gilliam seemed to be impaired, and most relevantly, he drove in the direction of three law enforcement deputies,” according to a statement from Hummel.

On Nov. 29, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office deputies forced a stolen car off the road by striking it. They surrounded the driver on foot, with guns drawn, shouting warnings like, “Stop or you’ll be shot," according to the DA's office.

When the stolen car spurted forward, Baltzor fired five rounds through the window. He hit Gilliam three times — in the neck and through the shoulder, while another bullet grazed his head.

Gilliam spent 10 days in the hospital. Now, he’s in jail, charged with a list of felonies.

Nearly a year ago, law enforcement reported helping Gilliam get medical care. He was found suffering from hypothermia last January, after reportedly walking 10 miles naked in sub-freezing temperatures.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting