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Cop-on-cop shooting depletes force, stuns friends

Forest Grove resident and Hillsboro police officer Tim Cannon in county jail on attempted murder charge


Television news vans circled the Forest Grove Police Department Tuesday as reporters sorted truth from fiction following a Sunday evening 9-1-1 call that turned into a volatile standoff between a Hillsboro policeman and a swarm of other law enforcers.by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Forensics specialists continued to investigate Sunday nights officer-involved shooting at the Forest Grove home of Hillsboro police officer Timothy Cannon Monday. Cannon and a Washington County sheriffs deputy were injured in the incident, and Cannon was jailed on a charge of attempted aggravated murder.

Timothy Cannon, a veteran officer with the Hillsboro Police Department, was arrested and jailed after Forest Grove and Hillsboro police and county sheriff's deputies responded to a domestic disturbance at his home the night of Jan. 20.

The case was confusing at first because "shots were fired" but no one knew how many or by who, said Sgt. David Thompson, a spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff's Office. He later confirmed Cannon had a gun and fired it. Cannon

Cannon, 46, was booked into the Washington County Jail on one count of attempted aggravated murder in connection with the incident, during which he and an unnamed sheriff's deputy were injured.

His bail was initially set at $250,000.

At Cannon’s arraignment Tuesday afternoon, the judge increased his bail to $1 million but did not add any charges.

The final charges will decided by a grand jury, which will begin hearing evidence Friday, Thompson said. Cannon remains in the Washington County Jail while a multi-agency investigation continues.

"This is rare,” Thompson said. “We have a few officer-involved shootings every year, but I can't remember any time we've had a stand-off with an officer.”

Call from wife

Tim Cannon's wife, Lisa Cannon, is a support unit supervisor with the Forest Grove Police Department. She placed a 9-1-1 call at 8:34 p.m. Sunday from their home in the 1000 block of 37th Avenue.

"Very, very early in the call we realized this was one of our own employees," said Capt. Mike Herb, public information officer with the Forest Grove Police. "It becomes an emotionally charged event in that moment when you realize human beings — and we consider Lisa to be part of our family — are possibly in harm's way."

Tim and Lisa Cannon, as well as the couple's six-year-old daughter, were inside their house in The Parks neighborhood northwest of Forest Grove High School at the time, but the couple's son was not home, according to Herb.

Neither Lisa Cannon nor her daughter was injured in the incident. Lisa Cannon is currently at an undisclosed location with her family, said Herb, and did not work Tuesday.

Cannon holds a key position in the department, "almost a personal assistant" to Chief Janie Schutz, Herb said. "She's a significant part of our team.”

The sheriff’s office reported that after evacuating neighbors, police entered the home where Cannon had barricaded himself. Multiple gunshots were fired and a deputy's hand was wounded. The injury was caused by shrapnel, not a direct hit, Thompson said.

Cannon was also injured.

Police reassure neighbors

In the event's aftermath, police did their best to calm the jangled nerves of neighbors.

Schutz, Herb and community service officer Theresa Kohl met at The Parks Monday with about 50 people, answering questions for 90 minutes.

"All those in the neighborhood at the time heard the shots," Herb said. "We made it a priority to reassure folks that we are on the job, protecting their safety."

Laura Mathews, who has lived in The Parks for three years, praised the quick response of law enforcement the night of the incident and police officials' attempts to quell rumors early this week. "They had been up all night and were quite emotional because of the ties to the department," Mathews said. "They told us to be aware of our neighbors and what goes on, no matter how small." Mathews called residents of The Parks "a tight-knit group" that throws block parties and welcomes newcomers. She and other neighbors told police they wanted to volunteer inside the Cannon home to "put things back together aesthetically" for when the family returns.

Officers on leave

Not counting Cannon, 10 law enforcement officers were placed on paid administrative leave after they apparently discharged their firearms during the incident — five from Forest Grove, four sheriff’s deputies, and one from Hillsboro. This is standard procedure in any officer-involved shooting, according to the sheriff's office. The names of the officers were not immediately available.

The case is being investigated by the Washington County Major Crimes Team. Thompson said it could take a couple days to completely process the crime scene. Ballistics and trajectory tests will help determine what transpired.

Cannon is a 13-year veteran of the Hillsboro Police Department. According to the department, he has been assigned to the Patrol Division the entire time.

Hillsboro Police spokesman Lt. Mike Rouches said Cannon would be placed on administrative leave during the investigation. According to Rouches, Cannon had no previous disciplinary problems within the department before the shooting.

"Obviously, we're very disappointed," Rouches said.

Rouches added that that Hillsboro and the department have a number of programs for identifying and dealing with officers who show signs of stress. They include the Trust Team, a peer-counseling program. Rouches could not comment on whether Cannon had ever received such counseling.

— Reporters Jim Redden and Stephanie Haugen contributed to this report.

Forest Grove police short eight

The recent standoff with Hillsboro police officer Tim Cannon has left five Forest Grove police officers on paid administrative leave after apparently firing their guns during the incident.

In addition to those five, Capt. Aaron Ashbaugh has been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 31.

"We're down over one-third of our agency. It's a hit," said Capt. Mike Herb, public information officer for the department. Officers are working overtime, in some cases pulling double shifts, he said. The Washington County Sheriff's office has offered help and "we may take them up on that."

Forest Grove should have about 20 sworn officers patrolling the city, Herb said. But one is in training, one is on light duty and five are now on leave.

Those five are likely to be gone at least two weeks, said Human Resources Manager Brenda Camilli. "There's all kinds of things they have to do before they can return to duty," she said.

If necessary, the department's three detectives can be called in to help patrol, Camilli said, but "I know their workload's been really high too."

The administrative staff — Herb, Ashbaugh and Chief Janie Schutz — could also help, she said, although Ashbaugh is currently unavailable.

City officials refused to say why Ashbaugh is on leave, but the timing suggests it is related to an investigation into corruption allegations against Cornelius Police Chief Paul Rubenstein, who is on paid administrative leave.

A 15-page letter from four Cornelius police officers, which launched the investigation into Rubenstein's conduct, included a litany of complaints, including an allegation that Rubenstein associated with a drug dealer in Forest Grove. The letter claimed that a Forest Grove officer had issued an incident report about Rubenstein, but that an unnamed high-ranking officer from Forest Grove had tampered with the report before sending it to the county sheriff's drug team.

Cornelius began an investigation Oct. 16. Ashbaugh was put on leave two weeks later.

Camilli said she did not know when Ashbaugh would return, but "as soon as possible we're hoping to have this behind us."

-- Jill Rehkopf Smith

Acquaintances stunned by officer's arrest

Those who know Hillsboro Police Officer Timothy Cannon say they are shocked that he is in jail, charged with attempted aggravated murder.

The charges stem from injuries sustained by a Washington County sheriff's deputy who responded to a domestic disturbance call at Cannon's Forest Grove home Sunday evening. Sgt. David Thompson of the sheriff's office said Tuesday morning that the allegations against Cannon could have been amended at an arraignment that afternoon.

“Tim is a clear-headed, kind and sensitive man,” said Gregg Townsley, a security officer and trainer at Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro who has known Cannon for around five years.

Townsley (who is married to Forest Grove News-Times editor Nancy Townsley) said he sees Cannon about once a week, often when the officer comes to the hospital to cite or arrest someone. According to Townsley, Cannon always behaves professionally, but frequently takes the time to counsel the person he is dealing with.

“One time he came in to arrest a middle-age woman who was charged with multiple counts of theft. Obviously, she’d had a lapse of judgment, probably several of them. Tim told her what she’d done didn’t need to define her life, that she had the opportunity to change. That’s the kind of thing I’ve heard him say many times,” said Townsley.

Mark Makler, an attorney who represents the Hillsboro Police Officers Association, said he was stunned by what happened.

"This is totally out of character, out of step for Tim. He's a great guy. This is very, very unfortunate for a lot of people and organizations. It affects the entire law enforcement community and their families," said Makler, who is not representing Cannon because he was off-duty and not acting in a law enforcement capacity when Sunday's incident occurred.

In November 2012, the Oregon Peace Officers Association presented Cannon with a Lifesavers Award for saving the life of a 53-year-old suicidal man during a domestic violence call the previous month. Cannon and Hillsboro Police Officer Marth Bual administered first aid to the man, who had cut himself and said he wanted to bleed to death. Bual also received the award.

"If not for Officers Bual's and Cannon's swift actions and immediate first aid, the subject would likely have succeeded in ending his life," the award reads.



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