Eugene, OR – The Lane County District Attorney’s Office has released bodycam footage that captured the moment an irate parent tried to murder two Eugene school resource officers as he was being led out of a middle school during a child custody dispute (video below).
Anti-police activist Charles Landeros, 30, was fatally shot by one of the officers during the physical altercation that ensued in front of the school, The Register-Guard reported.
“There is no clearer circumstance that the use of deadly force is justified than this,” Lane County District Attorney Patricia Perlow said in a statement on Thursday, according to KOIN.
Landeros, who had enrolled his daughter at Cascade Middle School one week prior to the altercation, went to the school after he learned that his ex-wife had been there earlier to show administrators her divorce and child custody paperwork, KOIN reported.
She said that Landeros had enrolled their child at the school without her permission, so the school contacted him and asked him to come talk to them about the situation, NBC News reported.
School officials also told Eugene Police School Resource Officer Steve Timm that Landeros would be stopping by, and they asked for his assistance.
Because of the potential volatility of the custody dispute, Officer Timm contacted Eugene Police Officer Aaron Johns, and asked for him to come to the school to assist him.
Officer Johns is also a school resource officer, The Register-Guard reported.
Landeros arrived at the school at approximately 10:30 a.m., wearing a shirt that read, ‘SMASH THE PATRIARCHY AND CHILL,’ and engaged in a “respectful” conversation with Officer Timm, Perlow said.
He ultimately left the office, but stayed in the foyer area just inside the doorway, and began to voice his disagreement with the situation, bodycam footage showed.
“The police do not have jurisdiction over here,” Landeros informed Officer Timm. “If the principal has not asked me to leave…”
Landeros’ daughter then happened to walk into the hallway by coincidence, Perlow said.
“Go! Go! Go!” Landeros yelled to her, as Officer Johns escorted him out the school doors.
Officer Timms advised him that he was under arrest, as Officer Johns pressed him against a wall.
“Let go of me!” Landeros screamed at them.
The irate man then pulled out a 9mm pistol as he and Officer Johns tumbled to the ground.
The suspect fired two rounds, at which time Officer Timm fired one, hitting Landeros in his temple, KOIN reported.
Landeros’ daughter witnessed the struggle, as well as her father’s death, Perlow said.
"Officer Timm recognized that the situation was dangerous and needed to be controlled,” the prosecutor told KOIN. “Both [officers] were in fear of their own death or the death of other bystanders or students in the area. Officer Johns said he knew that if he let go of Landeros’ hand in the struggle, they were going to be killed.”
Landeros’ loaded weapon contained an extended magazine, which allowed him to carry 21 rounds, including one in the chamber, The Register-Guard reported.
He had a second magazine on his belt, and was carrying a backpack that contained more ammunition of a different caliber, Perlow said.
“It is unknown why Charles Landeros chose to use deadly force in this circumstance, but he clearly had no regard for the lives of the police officers or the students or staff present, including his child,” she told KOIN.
“Officer Timm saved the life of Officer Johns, himself and perhaps many others given the number of rounds Charles Landeros had loaded in his weapon,” she added.
Officer Timm, 50, has been with the Eugene Police Department for 15 years, while officer Johns, 45, has served the agency for 18 years.
Landeros’ family said they plan to hire experts to carry out an independent investigation into the shooting, and said they are worried that the police may not handle the investigation appropriately because of Landeros’ race, The Register-Guard reported.
(Editor's Note: Landeros reportedly preferred the non-gender-specific pronouns of "them" and "they." His associates' attempts to use these words resulted in a gross abuse of the English language by taking plural words and using them to refer to an individual. Uses of these pronouns have been replaced with male pronouns for clarity purposes only.)
“People of color are disproportionately the victims of police violence,” the family said in a statement through their attorney, Lauren Regan. “We know that Charlie, as an activist against police brutality and a descendant of Mexican and Filipino parents, was aware of this.”
“We do not know…what was going through Charlie’s mind when [he was] shoved out of the door in front of [his] child and pinned to the wall,” the statement continued. “We also do not know why Officer Timm felt the need to aggressively shove Charlie through the door and against the wall…”
“My love for Charlie is forever,” his brother, Joseph, wrote in the statement. “I just want [him] back. This never should have happened.”
According to Perlow, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received a tip in 2018 regarding some anti-government social media posts Landeros was making, but there was not enough information to substantiate any criminal charges at that time.
About an hour before the altercation at the middle school, Landeros allegedly commented, “Death to all pigs” in response to a Springfield Police Department Facebook post regarding an officer who was fatally shot.
He was also the founder of Community Armed Self-Defense, which focused on providing firearms training to the LGBTQ community and people of color, The Register-Guard reported.
Landeros served in the U.S. Army for six years as a crew chief and helicopter mechanic, and was deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq, his friend and his ex-wife told the paper.
He was honorably discharged from the military in 2012.
You can watch bodycam footage of the officers’ encounter with Landeros in the video below: