The Benton County District Attorney’s Office determined that a Corvallis police officer was justified to use deadly force in the fatal shooting of Jeffrey Appelt during an April 3 incident at the Days Inn Hotel.
Appelt, 32, who was a resident of Philomath, had an extensive criminal history, including crimes of violence.
In a ruling dated April 29 and released on Friday, District Attorney John Haroldson wrote that based upon available evidence, “there is not good reason to believe that a crime was committed by Officer Daniel Granillo in his use of deadly force” and that his actions were justified under Oregon law.
The Benton County Major Crimes Team investigated the case to assist the Benton County District Attorney’s Office with determining whether the use of deadly force was justified. The investigation involved the review of various reports, recordings, interviews, body camera and patrol camera video and other evidence.
At the time of the incident, Appelt was on post-prison supervision for felony assault and had a firearm prohibition per court order for mental health reasons.
Corvallis Police responded to a call at 3:39 a.m. on April 3 from a Days Inn Hotel employee who said Appelt was acting aggressive and trying to get into guests’ rooms, according to the report released by the DA’s office. Following interactions with two officers that revealed he had a folding knife — the first officer had unsuccessfully tried to stop him with his taser — Appelt started to flee the scene into a parking lot. Granillo arrived and parked his patrol car.
“Granillo saw Appelt aggressively coming at him, holding the knife,” the report said. “Granillo heard Appelt yell, ‘Do you want to die?’ one time, and could tell Appelt was yelling other things as well. Granillo drew his pistol.”
Appelt ignored multiple commands to drop the knife, the report stated, and continued toward Granillo. Eventually after Granillo had backed up, Appelt made a dash for an open door on the patrol vehicle, which inside was a loaded AR-15 rifle and a shotgun loaded with less-than-lethal rounds.
“At that moment, Granillo fired his pistol three times at Appelt,” the report stated. “Seeing Appelt had made it partially into the vehicle, Granillo fired two additional times at Appelt.”
Appelt was stuck a total of four times. A fifth round struck the interior of the open door of the vehicle.
Among the investigation’s conclusions was, “If Appelt entered the vehicle, the threat of serious physical injury or death to Granillo and other officers present would be even greater than the threat posed by Appelt outside of the vehicle with a knife.”
Corvallis Fire medics arrived minutes after the shooting and attempted life-saving measures, the report stated. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The investigation revealed that Appelt on March 24 had indicated to a physician that he was no longer taking prescribed medications for a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. At the time, Appelt reported “struggles with anxiety, auditory hallucinations and figuring out what was real.” A friend reported on April 2 that he was hallucinating and seeing people that he believed to be the police. Appelt reportedly was a user of methamphetamine and heroin, the report stated.
The actions of the other two officers involved — Sgt. Dale Raybould and Ofc. Stephen Foster — were not direct subjects of the review but the DA’s office states that their actions were appropriate and lawful.