On January 11, a man named Charlie Landeros was shot and killed by police outside a Eugene, Oregon middle school. After a review by the local prosecutor, it was determined that the officer who shot Landeros was justified in doing so because Landeros had pulled a gun and fired twice before the officer returned fire. The scuffle with police was captured on the officer’s body camera and can be seen below. From Oregon Live:
Charles Landeros refused to leave Cascade Middle School when asked to do so by school resource officers Steve Timm and Aaron Johns on Jan. 11, according to district attorney Patty Perlow. Landeros struggled with them when they tried to arrest him and fired two shots at one of the officers, who then fired back and killed Landeros, the district attorney said.
Landeros went to the school that day over a conflict with his daughter’s mother. He had enrolled the girl in the school earlier that week without telling his former spouse, but school officials later learned that the girl’s mother had the sole authority to decide which school the girl attended.
This may sound like a domestic dispute gone wrong but there’s a bit more to this situation. Landeros was a left-wing activist who had been investigated by the FBI and apparently was angry with police in general. KVAL reports on his social media postings just prior to the shooting:
“In 2018, the FBI received information on a tip line that Charles Landeros was posting violent anti-government messages on social media,” according to the DA. “The information was referred to the local FBI office, who concluded there was insufficient information to substantiate that a crime had been committed.”
On January 9, two days before the deadly shooting outside the school, police in nearby Springfield received a screenshot of a Facebook comment on a story about a man shot and killed by police in Portland.
A comment posted by “Charlie Landeros” read, “Time to start killing pigs,” investigators wrote.
Then on the morning of January 11 – about an hour before the incident at Cascade Middle School – someone alerted the manager of Springfield Police Facebook page that someone named “Charlie Landeros” had commented “Death to all pigs” on a post on the department Facebook page about a California police officer shot and killed while investigating a traffic crash.
Landeros’ distrust of the police also led him to create an armed self-defense group which was intended to defend marginalized communities. From the University of Oregon student paper:
Landeros was a member of Community Armed Self Defense, a group that was created as a “new liberatory and inclusive space for all oppressed peoples to learn about armed self-defense,” according to the group’s Facebook page, which is no longer publicly available on Facebook as of 4 p.m. Saturday.
Community Armed Self Defense’s Facebook page said that they could not count on the police to protect marginalized people, and that firearms help marginalized groups protect themselves.
“The police are not here to protect us. They are more likely to harm us themselves than they are to ‘serve or protect’ us,” the group wrote on their Facebook page description.
So if you’re wondering who would be crazy enough to pull a gun on two police officers at a school, there’s your answer: Someone who believes police are the enemy and can’t be trusted. Landeros death was mourned by his comrades in the Eugene area who said he “lived politically.”
CW: racism, police, death, misgendering
Charlie was a comrade of a comrade. Please remember them, know that they were in the struggle, say their name. Charlie Landeros. They lived politically, and let's hold onto that as well as the grief of their politically charged murder. https://t.co/7NbvpxLNKt
— crying bitching nuisance (@AnarKy98) January 16, 2019
Everyone at our meeting is talking about the killing of Charlie Landeros, a fixture of the local left, a parent, a poet, and unfortunately the victim of a police killing Friday. Solidarity to all of Charlie's friends, comrades and family.
— Eugene DSA🌲🌹🤝 (@DSA_Eugene) January 14, 2019
Landeros first made national news in 2017 when he led a protest at the University of Oregon which shut down a speech by the school’s president. I wrote about that incident here. Landeros appears in this Oregonian report:
And here’s the body cam video released by the police. As you can see, they were trying to talk to Landeros but he refused to listen and then he pulled a gun and fired two shots:
There’s one last coda to this story. After Landeros death, a local social justice group called the Civil Liberties Defense Group posted a tribute to Landeros which suggested his shooting by police had something to do with his race. Plenty of his activist comrades agreed and were tweeting that the Eugene police had murdered him:
Your silence is complacency. Speak up for Charlie and every other poc who has lost their life due to an inherently racist system. Far too many black and brown bodies have been murdered at the hands of the state. Steve Timm is a murderer. Eugene police murdered Charlie Landeros.
— Delamey (@loser513) January 25, 2019
In Memoriam: Charles (Charlie) Landeros, 1988-January 11, 2019 https://t.co/WrL5doMOtt
— [Rose_City_Madman_in_a_Box] (@ncjp88) January 13, 2019
Charlie Landeros, beloved comrade and street medic, was murdered by Eugene police 2 days ago. They were a non-binary activist of color who did amazing work in their community and were gunned down in front of their children’s school. Pls support the @CLDC investigation if you can. https://t.co/6XnjxOldQq
— (Pop)ular (Mob)ilization (@PopMobPDX) January 13, 2019
So, coincidentally, on Monday afternoon workers outside the Eugene police headquarters discovered several incendiary devices left outside. Police aren’t speculating about motive and don’t have any suspects yet, but the timing seems like quite a coincidence. From NBC 16:
Police seized more than one “incendiary device” from the north end of the Eugene Police headquarters property Monday afternoon.
“I don’t know what kind of damage they could have done,” Lt. David Natt said. “This is not a hoax device. These are very serious matters.”
Given the police shooting, Landeros’ prior threats against police, his radical politics, the angry response from activists, and (maybe) the incendiary devices—you would think this might become more than just a local news story. But so far it seems that’s not the case. I wonder why the national media isn’t eager to report on this armed left-wing extremist?