By Shereen Siewert
Three U.S. Marshals Task Force members who shot and killed a 33-year-old fugitive May 22 in Ashland were justified in their actions, according to a statement issued Friday by Ashland County District Attorney David Meany.
Joseph Tedrick was shot four times and died at the scene. Tedrick, who had been living in Ashland for several months, had been wanted on multiple warrants including one for attempted murder stemming from a September 2018 incident where he allegedly fired on a Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputy in Oregon.
In the Oregon case, a deputy responded at about 3:48 a.m. Sept. 23, 2018, to a 911 call regarding a suspicious person and vehicle. The responding deputy located the vehicle and heard what sounded like a gunshot as she pulled up, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department. The deputy then left the area and parked a safe distance away to wait for backup.
Before returning to the area, the deputies could see a flickering light coming from the location. A 911 caller reported also hearing a gunshot and told dispatchers the suspicious vehicle was now on fire. The 911 caller also reported seeing the suspect run from the vehicle to the east.
Deputies attempted to locate the suspect that night, but were unsuccessful. At the time, they were not certain if the suspect, later determined to be Tedrick, had actually fired a gun. Crime scene investigators say they later confirmed that he had; they examined the vehicle and determined the patrol car had been struck by a bullet, according to police.
Clackamas County Sheriff’s detectives took on the case and identified Tedrick as the suspect. A grand jury later indicted Tedrick on charges of attempted murder and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He remained at large for eight months.
Tedrick had a long history of criminal activity while living in Oregon. Months before he allegedly shot at the Clackamas County deputy, he tried to swim away from police in the Columbia River in Portland after driving erratically with a 5-year-old girl in the backseat of his vehicle, according to police.
In that case, which happened in August 2018, police said they received several calls about Joseph Tedrick’s unstable driving. After a chase, police punctured his tires using spike strips. Tedrick then reportedly ran out of the car and into the river, leaving the child still inside.
The girl was unharmed and reunited with her mother. Tedrick was taken to the hospital in police custody and later told authorities he had taken an unspecified controlled substance.
According to the Ashland Daily Press, Tedrick moved into the Ashland home in late 2018 and was known by neighbors only as “Joe.” But on about 3:27 p.m., on May 22, the quiet neighborhood erupted in gunfire after members of a U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force attempted to serve the arrest warrant for Tedrick at a home in Ashland. There, police say Tedrick was seen arming himself with an AR-15 rifle.
Still carrying the rifle, Tedrick ran into the garage and got into a vehicle, then rammed his vehicle into a Marshals Service vehicle, pushing it out of the way and driving his vehicle directly toward officers who were positioned in a neighboring yard, according to the investigative report. Investigators say Tedrick started manipulating his rifle, raising it upward, and continued to drive through a neighboring yard toward officers when three task force officers fired on him.
Tedrick’s vehicle drove through a neighboring yard, eventually crashing into the back wall of a garage. Task force members removed Tedrick from the vehicle and performed lifesaving measures, but they were not successful and Tedrick was pronounced dead at the scene.
Autopsy results showed Tedrick was shot three times in the upper chest and once in his left thigh. Damage to his left lung and spinal column resulted in his death.
Two Deputy U.S. Marshals and one Sheboygan Police Officer, who was working with the task force, were involved in the incident and have now been cleared of any wrongdoing in the case.