Deadly shooting by police of Malheur County man after standoff is ruled to be justified

Malheur County District Attorney David Goldthorpe said a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court could mean a few local cases will be reviewed for retrial. (The Enterprise/File).

VALE – The Malheur County District Attorney’s Office has ruled that the fatal shooting of a man by officers on Jan. 3 was a “justified use of deadly force.”

Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe delivered his decision in statement released Tuesday.

Police shot Henry Martinez Jr., 49, Nyssa, after a four-hour standoff in which he stabbed to death his girlfriend, Carlen Mercado, a California resident.

Goldthorpe said Mercado, 51, had come to Ontario to retrieve her car and other personal items. A relative contacted police to report that Mercado was being held against her will.

Police and deputies from the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home at 580 S.E. 13th St., in Ontario, where a hostage situation developed.

Police tried to convince Martinez to surrender. As negotiations proved futile – and concerns about Mercado increased – the Malheur County Special Emergency Response Team deployed a flashbang grenade and chemical gas to force Martinez to leave the house.

As the special response team moved into the home, Martinez walked toward them with a large knife, ignoring commands to drop it. Then he ran toward officers with the knife. Police fired six shots, with two .45 caliber bullets striking Martinez in the chest.

Goldthorpe said previously that two Malheur County Sheriff’s deputies had “discharged their weapons.”

“He was literally two or three feet from the officers at the time he was shot,” said Goldthorpe. “In the final moment, I don’t think they were left any other option.”

After the shooting, police found Mercado with stab wounds to her neck and hand.

Goldthorpe said the neck wound was “pretty gruesome.”

“This is was bad as it gets. An individual who was willing to harm his significant other in the most terrible way,” said Goldthorpe.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

Previous coverage:

Police continue probe into deadly Malheur County domestic violence incident

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