The sheriff’s deputy involved in an exchange of gunfire during a traffic stop on Christmas Day will not be charged with a crime, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said Friday.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Anthony Ramos fired eight rounds at James Tyler Lamkin, after the 29-year-old man shot at fellow Deputy Evan Kennedy. Hummel said in a press release that Ramos’ decision to use deadly force was authorized under Oregon’s self-defense law.
At around 7 p.m. Dec. 25, Lamkin was driving a white 2006 Dodge truck outside La Pine when Kennedy tried to pull him over, according to a court document recently released by Oregon State Police.
Lamkin reportedly did not yield to Kennedy for approximately 3 miles. When he did pull over, on Dyke Road near Meadow Road, he allegedly refused to get out of his truck.
Ramos, who arrived at the scene in a separate patrol vehicle, said he saw Lamkin reach out of the driver’s side window of his truck and shoot at Kennedy several times, said Hummel.
Hummel said Lamkin fired seven rounds at Kennedy but did not hit the officer or anyone else. Most of Lamkin’s shots struck the roadway or a snow berm near his vehicle. One round, however, traveled nearly 60 yards and struck a fence at a nearby home, Hummel said.
Ramos’ shots either hit the truck or passed through it, Hummel said.
After the exchange of gunfire, Lamkin got out of the truck, put down his gun and was arrested.
Lamkin is charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants, attempting to elude a police officer, unlawful use of a weapon, menacing and recklessly endangering another person, according to a charging document in Deschutes County Circuit Court.
“Mr. Lamkin’s decision to shoot his gun in the direction of Deputy Kennedy was dangerous, reckless, and rightfully resulted in Deputy Ramos shooting at him,” Hummel said. “Deputy Ramos’ marksmanship was impressive, as from a distance of approximately 30 yards, in the dark, with a handgun as opposed to a rifle, six of his eight shots struck the immediate area of the driver’s compartment of Mr. Lampkin’s truck.”
Lamkin escaped injury because he was slumped down his vehicle, Hummel said.
Ramos joined the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office in August, after starting his career in 2016 with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, according to the sheriff’s office.
While a Santa Cruz deputy, he was involved in a shooting incident on May 18, 2018.
A woman arrested by his partner managed to get out of her handcuffs and behind the wheel of a patrol car, according to the Santa Cruz sheriff’s office. The woman stepped on the car’s accelerator and hit Ramos, causing significant injuries.
Ramos’ partner could hear him screaming in pain and shot multiple times at the woman, striking her three times, but not killing her.
Ramos received a Purple Heart for his actions, the sheriff’s office said.
The Christmas Day shooting was the second involving a Deschutes County sheriff’s office deputy in a month.
On Nov. 29, Deputy Clint Baltzor shot and injured Adam L. Gilliam, 28, of John Day, after Gilliam allegedly stole a vehicle from the Shepherd’s House homeless shelter and led police on a short chase.