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A 32-year-old Philomath man killed by police Saturday while making threats and wielding a knife has been identified as Jeffrey W. Appelt, the Benton County District Attorney’s Office reported in a press release.
The Corvallis Police Department responded at 3:39 a.m. Saturday to a report of a man trespassing at the Days Inn Hotel, located at 1113 NW Ninth St., in Corvallis. A hotel employee told dispatchers that the man was acting in an aggressive manner and trying to get into guest rooms, according to the press release.
When police confronted the man, they reported that he was armed with a knife and called for emergency cover.
“Appelt threatened to kill the officer and appeared to remove something from his pocket,” the Benton County DA’s office said in the release. “Video evidence showed Appelt raise his hand and come towards the officer.”
The officer turned, ran in the opposite direction and put space between him and Appelt, the release states.
“Appelt chased after the officer, still holding something in his hand, and threatened to kill the officer multiple times,” the release states. “While distancing himself from Appelt, the officer drew his less-lethal taser and fired at Appelt. Appelt turned away from the officer and went back toward the hotel entrance.”
A second officer then attempted to take Appelt into custody as he was re-entering the hotel. However, Appelt, who had been determined to be carrying a knife, used physical force to escape and fled west, where a third officer just pulled into the parking lot.
“The third officer’s video showed Appelt holding a knife and aggressively advancing toward the third officer who was standing near his patrol vehicle,” the release continues. “Appelt yelled to the third officer, ‘Do you want to die? Do you want to die?’ This officer ordered Appelt to drop the knife multiple times.”
According to police, Appelt continued to advance toward the officer while holding the knife.
“When Appelt came in close proximity to the officer, and his open patrol vehicle in which there was a loaded AR15 rifle and shotgun, the third officer fired his pistol,” the release states. “Appelt was struck multiple times.”
Law enforcement attempted life-saving measures, the release states, until Corvallis Fire medics arrived minutes later. However, Appelt was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said two knives were later recovered from the scene. Eyewitnesses present at the scene corroborated the video evidence.
The officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave, an action taken based on state law, use-of-force protocol, department policy and best practices guidelines. The leave is not a disciplinary action, CPD pointed out, but to relieve the officers from further field duties while undergoing the emotional stress of having been involved in a critical action and to conduct an objective investigation.
The Albany Police Department and Benton County Major Crimes Team are leading the investigation.