Man Who Shot Clackamas Sergeant Will Be Evaluated For Release to Residential Treatment

By Rick Bella, The Oregonian, Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Nick Teixeira

Nick Teixeira

The young man who shot a Clackamas County sheriff’s sergeant in the face nine years ago will be evaluated for release from the Oregon State Hospital, a state panel agreed Wednesday.

After a three-hour hearing in Salem, the state Psychiatric Security Review Board decided that 24-year-old Nick Teixeira could be released to a secure residential treatment facility in Pendleton if he passes evaluations by staff psychiatrists.

Teixeira’s attorney petitioned the board for his release, saying he no longer suffers from psychosis, has been off medication for years and is safe for transfer. The state hospital staff agreed that Teixeira has made significant progress and likely could function well in residential facility that is staffed around the clock. First, however, the staff recommended a thorough review of his record, followed by face-to-face interviews before a final decision is made.

The Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Teixeira in 2003, reminded board that community safety was most important.

Teixeira was sentenced in 2003 to 20 years of secure mental-health supervision after shooting Sgt. Damon Coates.

Coates, 51, sustained permanent disabilities in the shooting, forcing him to retire from law enforcement. Last year, he spent a month in the hospital after he suffered seizures, pneumonia and a blood infection. He continues to recuperate at home, but his wife, Tammy, told the board Wednesday that his health has declined.

In January 2003, when Teixeira was 15, his parents called 9-1-1 after they witnessed psychotic behavior in their Milwaukie-area home. Coates, about to pat down Teixeira, asked him if he had any weapons. Teixeira said no, then pulled out a stolen handgun hidden in the couch and shot Coates in the face. Another deputy then shot Teixeira.

In 2005, Coates received a $1.5 million settlement after filing a federal lawsuit claiming poorly trained county dispatchers failed to tell him Teixeira might have a weapon. The lawsuit also alleged that the county knowingly used faulty communications equipment and inadequately trained deputies to deal with the mentally ill.