Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Benton County DA says Corvallis police justified in fatally shooting Philomath man on April 3
top story

Benton County DA says Corvallis police justified in fatally shooting Philomath man on April 3

  • Updated
  • 1
Police shooting 01

Here is a look at the scene at the Days inn in Corvallis on April 3. Officials have concluded not to file charges against a Corvallis Police Department officer who shot and killed a knife-wielding Philomath man in the early-morning incident.

The Benton County district attorney has determined Corvallis Police Officer Daniel Granillo was justified in fatally shooting Jeffrey Appelt on April 3.

In a summary of his findings released Friday, District Attorney John Haroldson announced that his office has concluded Granillo was acting in accordance with Oregon law for the use of deadly force. The law, Haroldson noted, says someone is justified in use of deadly force if the person reasonably believes the target is “committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person” or is “using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person.”

Haroldson said he and senior members of his staff met with members of the Benton County Major Crimes Team on the day of the shooting to discuss how to proceed with an investigation of the use of deadly force by Granillo.

President Biden is turning his attention to a family and childcare plan one day after unveiling a $1.8 trillion proposal. "We can't be so busy competing with each other that we forget the competition is with the rest of the world to win the 21st century," he said. "To win that competition for the future, we also need to make a once-in-a-generation investment in our families and our children." The president, first lady and vice president are kicking off what they're calling the "Getting America Back on Track" tour. They'll highlight the progress made in combating COVID-19 during the administration's first 100 days. The second gentleman and cabinet officials will also join them.President Biden says his American Families Plan would be paid for over 15 years if the American Jobs Plan is also passed. Here's what's included in the former: Two years of free preschool for three and four-year olds and two years of free community college. It would make child care more affordable by determining how much families need to contribute based on their income. Childcare would be fully covered for low-income Americans. The plan expands the summer EBT and school meal programs. It also creates a national paid family and medical leave plan. The plan expands health care tax credits, extends the child tax credit increase through 2025 and increases the top tax rate from 37 to 39.6 percent. 

In addition to discussions with detectives and officers investigating the shooting, Haroldson said, his office  reviewed police reports concerning Appelt prior to the April 3 incident, parole supervision records, medical and mental health records, video footage of events leading up to the shooting, footage of the shooting itself and other records.

Appelt, 32, of Philomath, was shot to death as he advanced on Granillo with a pocket knife in front of the Days Inn motel in Corvallis. Officers were originally called about a man attempting to enter rooms with a knife and acting aggressively. At least one officer had tried to subdue Appelt with a Taser that investigators believe made insufficient contact with Appelt's body to be effective.

Dashboard camera footage shows Granillo had just arrived on the scene when he exited his vehicle and Appelt began to approach. Granillo ordered Appelt to stop, and when Appelt got in close quarters with Granillo, the officer fatally shot him.

The investigation Haroldson based his conclusion on was conducted by Albany police, in accordance with state law, he said in response to questions from Mid-Valley Media.

“Those elements of an independent investigation … are standard practice,” Haroldson said. “Frankly, that’s something the agency itself advocates for — to be able to have that indepedence and transparency”

Now that the district attorney is done looking into the shooting, Haroldson said Corvallis police will conduct their own evaluation to see if anything can be gleaned about how to handle future incidents.

Haroldson said part of his evaluation included whether Granillo could have done something else to avoid killing Appelt, as state law requires an officer to make a reasonable attempt de-escalate before using lethal force. He said the situation escalated so quickly that Granillo was almost immediately in danger.

“When you have something that’s escalating at the pace that you see in the video, we’re really talking about seconds and at that point, in the midst of being attacked by a person in close proximity with a knife, your options become extremely limited,” Haroldson said.

Haroldson described Appelt’s death as tragic, despite reaching the conclusion that Granillo was justified in shooting him.

“Even when we face the worst circumstances and, though justified, a life is lost, these are always opportunities for the agencies to examine how they can do things better,” Haroldson said. “They can learn from this and this part of that process that is critical for us to always continue to improve the manner in which we carry out policing in our community.”

Haroldson said his office does not plan to release video footage of the shooting due to the graphic nature of the images. However, video showing the moments leading up to Appelt being shot has been released, as has dashboard camera footage that included an audio recording of the shooting. 

K. Rambo can be contacted at 541-812-6091 or Follow on Twitter via @k_rambo_.


Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News