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Grand jury: Deputies justified in shooting Christopher Kalonji, 19

A Clackamas County grand jury has concluded that county deputies were justified in using deadly defensive force in the Jan. 28 shooting death of Oak Grove resident Christopher Kalonji, 19.

Christopher Kalonji's senior photo at Rex Putnam High School in 2014.Greg Horner, chief deputy district attorney, announced Friday that the grand jury came to the conclusion after considering the evidence of 10 witnesses for more than seven hours. One witness was the Clackamas County medical examiner who reported that the death was a suicide.

As this newspaper previously reported on Jan. 28 and Feb. 15, Kalonji “brandished the rifle, resulting in deputies firing at the man” at about 10:30 a.m.

Called as grand-jury witnesses were county mental health staff who assisted in efforts to de-escalate after they were called to the scene by law enforcement. Additionally, neighbors were called to testify regarding Kalonji’s possession of a rifle.

Kalonji’s parents were invited to testify as well, but decided not to participate in the proceedings. Kalonji family attorney J. Ashlee Albies, according to the Oregonian, didn’t know why the family declined to participate and said that cases of “suicide by cop” are controversial.

The Clackamas Review previously reported that Kalonji family members believed that the shooting could have been avoided.

But citing instances where someone going through a crisis wants to have a family member on the phone line while committing a homicidal or suicidal act, CCSO followed standard negotiation practices keeping family members out of the process. During the time they were sequestered away from the apartment, deputies interviewed Kalonji’s parents for information that could have potentially helped with the crisis.