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Coos County DA clears officers in fatal shooting of murder suspect

Coos County District Attorney
Bodycam footage from July 14 shows murder suspect Michel reaching for a sheathed knife as officers order him not to.

The Coos County DA says officers were justified in fatally shooting 37-year-old Matthew Tyler Michel on June 14th.

Michel was a suspect in the homicide of Coos Bay resident Amber Townsend, who was found shot to death three days earlier.

Six law enforcement officers came to the Global Inn, where Michel was staying. He’d already failed to report to his probation officer. After some resistance at the door, Michel ran back into his room and despite officers’ orders not to touch a sheathed knife on his bed, grabbed it and moved towards one of the officers. A detective and police sergeant both shot Michel, and he was declared dead at Bay Area Hospital.

District Attorney Paul Frasier says after reviewing police reports and body cam footage, officers couldn’t see that the knife was sheathed and believed Michel posed a deadly threat.

Further investigation shows Michel once shared a trailer with Townsend and her boyfriend. Investigators are still seeking tips on the murder case.

Frasier's release and summary can be found here.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.