What happened to Phyllis Jepsen

Phyllis Jepsen (left) with an unknown person

Phyllis Jepsen (left) with an unknown person

Phyllis Ilene Jepsen, age 55, was shot and killed by deputies Dennis Strange, John McCullough and Matt Humphrey of the Washington County Sheriff’s office in October 2, 2015.

An unknown person called 911 for help for Phyllis, who was in a mental health crisis and had threatened suicide. Sheriff’s spokespersons said deputies said Jepsen displayed a knife.

Deputies Dennis Strange, John McCullough and Matt Humphrey were put on leave.


Washington County Sheriff’s deputies kill woman who was wielding a knife

Portland Tribune – October 3, 2015

Washington County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 55-year-old woman who was wielding a knife in Aloha on Friday afternoon.

She is identified as Phyllis Ilene Jepsen of Aloha.

None of the deputies were injured.

According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, at about 4:54 p.m. on Oct. 2, deputies responded to an attempted suicide call at 18000 Southwest Shaw Street in the community of Aloha. Three deputies arrived on scene, and shortly after, were confronted by a 55-year-old woman with a knife.

The WCSO says that at some point during the confrontation, one of the deputies fired less-than lethal rounds at the woman and at least one of the other deputies fired lethal rounds at her. She was struck by at least one lethal round.

Medical personnel responded and transported the woman to an area hospital where she later died from her injuries.

Witnesses told KOIN 6 News they heard five to seven gunshots. A resident of the Patrician Apartment said he saw police pull up around 5 p.m. and heard gunfire about 3 minutes later.

All three deputies have been placed on routine paid administrative leave.

The Washington County Major Crimes Team is investigating the incident and is being assisted by the Oregon State Police Crime Lab.

Police ID Aloha woman killed in officer-involved shooting

KGW.com – October 3, 2015

A woman who was armed with a knife was shot and killed after three deputies responded to reports of a suicidal woman in Aloha Friday afternoon, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Police on Sunday identified the woman as Phyllis Ilene Jepsen, 55, of Aloha.

At around 5 p.m., deputies were dispatched to Patrician Apartments at 18000 Southwest Shaw Street, according to Sgt. Nathan Thompson.

Deputies arrived at the scene and were confronted by a woman with a knife, he said. They fired both lethal and non-lethal rounds. She was struck by at least one lethal round.

Jepsen was taken to a hospital where she died, Thompson said. None of the deputies were injured.

The three deputies have been placed on leave. The case remains under investigation. No further information was released.

Deputies involved in fatal shooting of knife-wielding Aloha woman still on leave, authorities say

Oregonian – October 9, 2015

Three Washington County deputies involved in the fatal shooting last week of an Aloha woman armed with a knife remain on leave pending an investigation of the death, the sheriff’s office said Friday.

Deputies Dennis Strange and John McCullough, both 10-year members of the agency, and Matt Humphrey, a 12-year member, have been on paid administrative leave since the Oct. 2 shooting of 55-year-old Phyllis Jepsen. The leave is standard in officer-involved shootings.

The deputies responded to the 18000 block of Southwest Shaw Street to investigate an attempted suicide and encountered Jepsen holding a knife, the sheriff’s office said.

At some point, one of the deputies fired non-lethal rounds at Jepsen, the sheriff’s office said. When that didn’t work, at least one of the deputies fired his gun and hit Jepsen with at least one lethal round, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Jepsen died later at an area hospital.

Sgt. Bob Ray, a sheriff’s office spokesman, declined to release further details pending the outcome of the county district attorney’s office investigation.

Deputies who killed Phyllis Jepsen were justified, says DA

The Oregonian, Jan. 28, 2016

Cpl. John McCullough and Deputy Matt Humphrey shot Phyllis Jepsen nine times as she approached them with a hunting knife Oct. 2, Senior Deputy District Attorney Bracken McKey wrote in a letter to the sheriff released Thursday. Authorities had not said how many times she was hit.

READ – DA Decision Letter on Phyllis Jepsen

A third deputy, Dennis Strange, had first fired less-lethal, 40 mm foam rounds from a launcher weapon at Jepsen, hitting her four times, but they hadn’t stopped her, wrote McKey, who reviewed the deputies’ actions.

Two days before Jepsen was shot, a sheriff’s deputy had taken her to the hospital on a police officer hold because she had made suicidal statements, McKey said. The shooting investigation revealed Jepsen had long struggled with mental illness and suicidal thoughts. She had also exhibited aggressive behavior before with police and hospital staff, according to the letter.

The responding deputies weren’t aware of her full history, McKey said, but they knew about her contact with the deputy Sept. 30.

“What they did know was that Ms. Jepsen was aggressive, armed, and noncompliant,” McKey wrote. “She posed a threat to officers and civilians in an apartment complex at a busy time of day, and less than lethal force had virtually no impact on her.”

A Tualatin police detective who is part of the county’s Major Crimes Team investigated the shooting. McKey said that because he found no evidence the involved deputies committed any crimes, the case would not be presented to a grand jury.

McKey’s letter provides the first detailed account from authorities about the shooting. In the aftermath, they were tight-lipped and would not describe Jepsen’s actions or what led to the use of deadly force.

Deputies first responded to the The Patrician Apartments, 18000 S.W. Shaw St., after Jepsen’s daughter-in-law called police at 4:54 p.m. reporting Jepsen was threatening her with a hunting knife, McKey wrote. The daughter-in-law locked herself in a car, while Jepsen stabbed its windows with the knife. Jepsen, McKey wrote, also stabbed herself and was trying to cut her throat.

While the deputies responded to the apartments, they received information about Jepsen’s encounter two days earlier with the deputy, a member of the agency’s Mental Health Response Team. Police on that day were summoned after Jepsen called two radio stations and made suicidal statements, McKey wrote.

During that call, as the deputy moved a hunting knife away from Jepsen, she tried to grab it, McKey wrote. She was taken to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center on a police hold and released the next day, the letter says.

On Oct. 2, Strange, Humphrey, McCullough and another deputy arrived at the apartments and spotted Jepsen, bleeding and apparently angry, inside a parked pickup at 5:02 p.m. McKey said she stabbed the driver’s window with a knife.

The deputies, McKey said, decided that Strange would fire the foam rounds if she was uncooperative when she got out of the truck. The deputies were between 25 and 30 feet from her at that time.

Soon after 5:03 p.m., Jepsen stepped out of the pickup with the knife in her right hand and moved toward the deputies. Less than 30 seconds later, they radioed “shots fired.”

Strange had fired from the less-lethal weapon, McKey said, but Jepsen kept moving toward them. Humphrey and McCullough then fired their guns at Jepsen, striking her nine times. Jepsen fell on the ground about 15 feet from the deputies, McKey said. She was taken to OHSU Hospital, where she died.

An autopsy revealed Jepsen had several self-inflicted cuts on her body and two stab wounds on her left abdomen, McKey wrote. Toxicology tests showed she had a blood-alcohol level of nearly .23 percent. She also had marijuana and an anti-psychotic medication in her system.

McKey’s letter does not say where Jepsen was shot, but he told The Oregonian/OregonLive that most shots struck her in her torso. One deputy fired a handgun and the other fired a rifle. His letter did not specify how many times the deputies fired.