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DA: Officers justified in James Tylka shooting

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Washington County District Attorney's Office lays out the details of Christmas night shooting

SUBMITTED - James Tylka, left, shot and killed his wife, Katelynn, right, on Dec. 25, 2016. On Feb. 22, the Washington County District Attorney's office ruled that officers were justified when they shot him 21 times, killing him.The Washington County District Attorney's Office has ruled that officers from several Washington County police departments were justified when they shot a man to death outside of Sherwood on Christmas night.

James Tylka was fatally shot by police after a pursuit, which began after he shot and killed his estranged wife in King City on Dec. 25, 2016. Before he was killed, Tylka also shot North Plains-based Oregon State Police Trooper Nic Cederberg several times, critically injuring him.

In a report released Feb. 22, the District Attorney's Office found that five police officers who shot and killed Tylka after he had injured Cederberg were justified in their actions. The report chronicles what happened after Tylka left his mother's King City home, where he had shot his wife, Katelynn Tylka-Armand.

On Feb. 14, prosecutors completed an investigation into Tylka-Armand's death and concluded that Tylka would have been charged with murder, had he lived.

Following Tylka-Armand's murder, Cederberg reportedly spotted Tylka's car near Sherwood and followed the car south of town onto Gimm Lane, a narrow dead-end road.

Cederberg radioed that Tylka was shooting at him. Dispatchers then lost contact with him over the radio.

Tylka and Cederberg shot at each other from their vehicles, with Cederberg receiving seven close-range gunshot wounds. The trooper survived his injuries and was released from the hospital in February.

After shooting Cederberg, Tylka stole his gun and then circled around the vehicles, leaving a trail of blood as sirens approached, prosecutors said.

When other officers arrived a few minutes later, they found Cederberg lying on the ground near the driver's door of his patrol car. Officers with the Hillsboro, Sherwood and Tualatin police departments approached Cederberg, unsure of where Tylka was. As officers approached, they spotted Tylka hiding in dense vegetation 10 yards from the patrol car.

Sherwood Police Officer Joseph Twigg told investigators that Tylka pointed the firearm at officers. The five officers opened fire, striking Tylka with multiple shots.

A medical examiner said that Tylka was shot 21 times in total, including a self-inflicted gunshot to the left side of his head, above his ear.

"(The officers) knew that James Tylka was armed and hiding in dense vegetation, and either pointed a firearm at them and/or fired his weapon," the investigation read. "All officers belived James Tylka was attempting to shoot them or shoot fellow officers at the time they fired their weapons... It is clear that all five... officers acted under the reasonable belief that James Tylka was using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force at the time they fired their weapons."