UCC shooting

Officers run back towards Snyder Hall at Umpqua Community College on Oct. 1, 2015, after initially responding to a shooting. The two officers initially responded to the scene without bullet-proof vests. 

Courtesy of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

They didn’t even have time to grab their bullet-proof vests.

Six minutes after the first shots were fired on Oct. 1, 2015, Roseburg Police Detectives Joe Kaney and Todd Spingath arrived at Snyder Hall on the Umpqua Community College campus.

They exchanged gunfire with the man who had just murdered nine people in a classroom there.

Moments later, the murderer was dead.

As is standard in officer-involved shootings, Kaney and Spingath were interviewed shortly afterward by other police officers. A summary of those interviews was included in the investigation records released Friday.

Phone calls to Kaney and Spingath to comment on their testimony were not immediately returned.

Kaney reported that the two detectives were in an unmarked police car, and he was driving. As they approached UCC, Kaney said, they agreed they were going to “zero in on where the suspect was and put a stop to it,” Kaney said, as paraphrased in the report.

He recalled telling Spingath that he didn’t remember training on responding to an active shooting, but that he had read many articles about it.

As they came closer to the campus, he realized they would be the first police officers on scene.

Kaney knew where Snyder Hall was, because in addition to being the commander of the criminal investigations division for the Roseburg Police Department, he’s an adjunct professor at Umpqua Community College.

They stopped in the parking lot, and as they got out, Spingath said he heard gunshots. That’s when they realized there wasn’t time to put on their vests.

They ran toward danger.

Kaney took cover behind a small, red Pontiac Grand Am. The shooter shot at them from the doorway of the classroom once, then twice.

Kaney “aimed and took two rapid shots.”

The shooter retreated into the classroom. A young, Asian-American woman, exited the classroom and ran for Springath. A man with red hair came out, too.

Spingath reported the suspect was down.

They entered the classroom and found the dead, the wounded and pools of blood.

A man wearing Army pants, who would turn out to be the shooter, was lying on the ground with a gunshot to his head.

“One of the troopers that arrived on scene mentioned that the suspect was still moving. I handcuffed him just in case,” Kaney said.

Elsewhere in the records, the shooter is said to have been still alive and breathing raggedly. He was carried to an ambulance at one point, but then declared dead and removed.

The interview with Spingath is shorter and parallels Kaney’s.

Spingath said he took cover behind vehicles, that he heard Kaney fire twice, and that Kaney was on his left.

When Spingath saw the shooter’s torso in the classroom doorway, he fired once. As he fired, he moved to the right because he feared the shooter now knew where he was.

He said it was the Asian-American young woman who told him the shooter was down, and that the shooter had shot himself.

According to the investigation reports, the shooter shot himself after receiving one bullet from one of the officers. The reports don’t indicate which officer’s gun the shot came from.

It was the shooter’s own bullet that killed him.

The officers’ swift response had brought an end to the killings.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(1) comment

bohica48

What lives did they save? The victims were all dead, and the shooter shot himself.

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