Lane County DA Says Nov. 30 Use of Deadly Force Was ‘Lawful Response’

On Nov. 30, a Eugene Police Department officer shot Muhsin Sharif, a person of color, while responding to a domestic violence call.  On Dec. 15, the Lane County Deputy District Attorney’s office issued a press release on the investigation on the use of deadly force calling it a “lawful response.” The release says Sharif had violated a restraining order and allegedly committed assault and strangulation.

According to the investigation by the Lane Inter-Agency Deadly Force Investigative Team (IDFIT) summarized in the release, Eugene police officers say Sharif had told them that he would kill them. He ran with a knife toward Officer Ryan Trullinger, who then shot at Sharif four times. Trullinger told investigators that he thought Sharif would stab him or someone else and feared for his life. 

After Sharif was shot and was lying on the ground, Eugene police yelled at him to drop his knife, but he asked police to take it from him because he said he couldn’t drop it. Police officers continued to tell Sharif to drop the knife and he responded, “I can’t move. I can’t move.” Then officers Tased him.

The investigation shows that Sharif was shot in the left hip and upper left chest. Sharif survived his wounds and received medical care at PeaceHealth’s Riverbend Hospital.

Eugene police have charged Sharif with four felonies, and he is currently held in Lane County Jail. According to the family, Sharif was taken to jail while he was still recovering. A GoFundMe has been set up by Sharif’s family to help him get legal representation.  

The investigation concludes that based on interviews and video evidence that the use of deadly force by Trullinger and Rankin was a “lawful response” to Sharif advancing towards them with a knife.

Lane County DDA released an officer’s body cam and dashcam. (The video is graphic and viewer discretion is advised.) 

Below is the full press release: 

On November 30, 2020, at approximately 10:21 a.m., Eugene Police received a report from a Lane County Deputy District Attorney (DDA) that a victim had contacted him via text and reported “He beat me up.  He’s here.”  The DDA reported the message was from a recent victim from a previous violation of a Pennsylvania Restraining Order against Muhsin Sharif.  The DDA reported he had not heard from the victim in approximately 10 minutes and believed she was in an active dispute and unable to use her phone.  EPD officers located the address of the victim and made contact. The victim reported Sharif had just left her residence.  She stated Sharif may be armed with a knife, had made statements about fighting the police and potentially killing himself if the police were involved.  The victim provided a physical description of Sharif as a 26-year-old mixed race adult, approximately 6’01 tall with an athletic build wearing a gray sweater, white shirt and green beanie. 

During the conversation with the victim, EPD officers developed probable cause to believe Sharif had again violated his restraining order and committed the crimes of Assault and Strangulation constituting domestic violence while their minor child was present.  Oregon law provides for mandatory arrest of a suspect under these circumstances.

  At approximately 11:57 a.m., Eugene Police Patrol units and plain clothes officers located Sharif in the Washington/Jefferson Park and established surveillance there.  At approximately 12:01 pm, Eugene Police officers attempted to contact Sharif in the park and he fled on foot.   The foot pursuit tracked westbound along 1st , south then west in the Jefferson Alley, south on Madison and then eastbound into the ally between Builder’s Electric and Oakshire Brewery.  During the foot pursuit, Eugene Police personnel observed Sharif was armed with a knife as he ran and heard him yelling “I will kill you” repeatedly as he ran.  Officers pursued him with lights, sirens and loud speakers.   One officer on recording is heard yelling, “Stop, drop the knife.”

After entering the alley between Oakshire Brewery and Builder’s Electric, Sharif ran toward the southeast corner of a parking lot behind Oakshire.  Within seconds of running into the parking area, Sharif quickly turned around before advancing toward the first Eugene Police officer that had entered the alley behind him.  Officer Ryan Trullinger, who has been with EPD for four and a half years, observed the parking lot was enclosed, came to a stop in the alleyway several yards from Sharif and began to give him commands to “Stop” and to “Drop the Knife” as Sharif advanced quickly toward him.  There was a clear path out of the alley to the passenger side of Officer Trullinger’s patrol vehicle.

Sharif ignored Officer Trullinger’s commands and quickly advanced toward the driver’s side of Officer Trullinger’s patrol vehicle.  Sharif had the knife raised in his right hand and was yelling at Officer Trullinger.  When Sharif reached the front driver’s corner of the patrol vehicle he accelerated toward Officer Trullinger as Officer Trullinger retreated, circling the rear of his vehicle.  As Sharif cleared the rear corner of the patrol vehicle, Officer Trullinger fired his Glock 9 mm pistol four times while accelerating his retreat.  Officer Trullinger later stated in his interview that he feared Sharif was going to stab him or someone else, and was in fear for his life.  Officer Trullinger said he stopped shooting when Sharif fell to the ground as he perceived the threat was over.

Within seconds of Officer Trullinger entering the alleyway, Eugene Police Officer Bo Rankin, who has been with EPD for fourteen years, entered the alleyway and was coming to a stop when he observed Sharif appear from the front driver’s side area of Officer Trullinger’s patrol vehicle.  As Officer Rankin exited his patrol vehicle, without having put the vehicle in park, he observed Sharif advancing quickly toward him with the knife raised and said in his interview he feared he or another officer would be stabbed.  Officer Rankin fired his Glock 9 mm pistol four times, nearly simultaneously with Officer Trullinger.  Officer Rankin stopped shooting when Sharif fell to the ground.

Sharif was struck two times, once in the upper left chest and once in his left hip.  Sharif fell to the ground facedown with his head pointed towards the west.  Officer Rankin’s patrol vehicle was rolling and stopped with the front bumper area above Sharif’s head and shoulders, but the vehicle did not roll on him.  

Sharif was lying on his stomach still refusing to drop the knife.  For several seconds Eugene Police Officers directed him to drop the knife stating they wanted to administer first aid but could not until he complied.  Sharif said he couldn’t drop the knife, though his right hand was unencumbered, and that officers should take it from him. EPD Officer Alex Swindling deployed his Tazer to Sharif which caused him to drop the knife.  Immediately after Sharif was no longer a threat, Medics were called into the scene while Eugene Police Officers Matt Pizzola, Kristen Cardwell, and Naivasha Tester began emergency first aide to stop Sharif’s bleeding.  Sharif was then transported to Riverbend Emergency Room by Emergency Medical Personnel.

The following is a summary timeline. Times are approximate, taken directly from CAD:

      • At 10:24:33 DDA reports receiving a text message from Samantha Ceritlli stating, “He beat me up. He’s here.”
      • At 10:33:07 Victim’s cell phone is pinged to determine her location.
      • At 10:48:26 Victim reports her actual location via DDA.
      • At 10:58:33 Victim is asked to meet responding officers at the door to the complex.
      • At 11:01:48 Pennsylvania Restraining Order confirmed and sent to EPD dispatch.
      • At 11:10:20 EPD Patrol units meet up with victim.
      • At 11:55:05 EPD Patrols are advised PC exists for Strangulation involving Abuse Prevention Act (APA) factors and a Violation of the Restraining Order (VRO.)
      • At 11:56:31 Sharif is tracked to Washington Jefferson Park.
      • At 11:58:48 Sharif is located in Washington Jefferson Park.
      • At 12:01:47 Sharif runs from EPD units at Washington Jefferson Park. 
      • At 12:03:22 officers on scene reported “Shots fired” “Medics Code 3” “Suspect Down” “Officers ok” 
      • At 12:03:52 officers reported Sharif was in custody with wounds to his chest.
      • At 12:04:54 officers reported first aid and Sharif was conscious.
      • At 12:06:47 officers reported second bullet hole in left hip and administering first aid.
      • At 12:09:08 Medics arrived at the scene.
      • At 12:14:07 (approximately) Medics departed with Sharif to Riverbend ER.

Investigators from the Lane County Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team (IDFIT) responded to the scene and took over the use of deadly force incident investigation.  Detectives from Oregon State Police, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Springfield Police Department and Florence Police Department all participated in the investigation, led by OSP Detective Dusty Sprague.  

These events are captured on multiple videos.  Because there are pending criminal charges against Muhsin Sharif, to protect his trial rights, only video of the actual use of force is being released at this time.  The first video is from Officer Trullinger’s body worn camera.  The second video is from Officer Rankin’s in-car video.

Based upon the interviews of the eye and ear witnesses, and the video evidence, the use of deadly force by Officers Trullinger and Rankin was a lawful response to the use of deadly force by Muhsin Sharif against the officers.  Sharif was closing in on Officer Trullinger with the knife raised when both officers fired their weapons.

Both officers were uninjured and Mr. Sharif survived his wounds.