Monday, Nov 5, 2007
On July 27, 2005, two Crater Lake rangers responded to a domestic disturbance in Mazama Campground. During the incident, one of the rangers shot and killed the man involved in the disturbance as he charged them while brandishing a deadly weapon and threatening to kill them. The investigations into this shooting, and the board of review that was convened afterward, found that the involved rangers were acting within the scope of their duties and in full compliance with National Park Service policies. The U.S. Attorneyâs Office for the District of Oregon concluded that it was a justifiable and necessary use of deadly force to prevent death or great bodily harm. At the time of the shooting, based on the interests and needs of the involved rangers, and in consultation with the U.S. Attorneyâs Office and deputy solicitor, the park chose not to release their names to the public. With the passage of two years, and in consultation with the involved rangers, comes the realization that sharing information about shooting incidents with the law enforcement community can be an important step toward providing healing and closure. The sharing of this information, including the names of involved rangers, can also help prevent an officer from carrying the burden of a line of duty shooting alone in his or her private life. The rangers involved were seasonal ranger Pieter Sween, who was the ranger directly involved in the shooting, and supervisory ranger Peter Reinhardt, who as Sweenâs partner provided backup and assistance during the incident. In recognition of their actions during the shooting, Sween and Reinhardt have been presented with exemplary act awards. Fourteen other Crater Lake employees were presented with unit citation awards for their actions in responding to and managing the incident. Rangers Sween and Reinhardt acted quickly, decisively, and appropriately to prevent death or serious injury during a rapidly evolving situation. They demonstrated superb courage, judgment and tactics in successfully resolving a violent and dynamic situation without injury to innocent persons. Itâs hoped that this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of appropriate training and tactics, and that the lessons learned can help the safety of other officers.