Late on the morning of Friday, Jan. 11, it was announced there had been a police shooting at Cascade Middle School, but that no students were harmed.
Over the weekend more information trickled out. Charlie Landeros, a well-known former University of Oregon student activist and a person of color, was the person who had been shot.
Landeros was a military veteran and a founder of Community Armed Self-Defense, a group that sought to create a safe place to build “knowledge, ability and will to defend ourselves and our community,” according to its website, which has been taken down since their death.
Police allege in a release that Landeros pulled out a gun while being escorted off campus. There have been reports that Landeros, who used they/them/their pronouns, was killed in front of their daughter, but Eugene Weekly has not been able to confirm or refute that account, and neither has the lawyer for the family, Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), where Landeros was a volunteer.
At a recent press conference, Regan said Landeros was called to the campus regarding a custody issue over their daughter.
In a November 2018 Facebook post, Landeros writes, “Stop asking me why I carry a gun. If you haven’t ever felt targeted in this town it’s because you are privileged.”
They continue in the post, asking people to attend a training or to support the group: “Eugene is not safe. Oregon is not safe. America is not safe. We must be able to defend ourselves. At Community Armed Self-Defense we have dedicated ourselves to arming and training all marginalized people who come to us.”
CLDC posted a memorial of Landeros, who was 30. “The biggest thing is trying to figure out how to live without my older sibling, my lifelong support,” brother Joseph Landeros says in the memorial. “Charlie has always been there for me when I needed them, but never again. I have accepted this, but I still don’t know how to go from here.”
Regan, who says Landeros was of mixed Filipino and Mexican descent, writes, “While people of color comprise 38.5 percent of the U.S. population, they make up 51.5 percent of those killed by police.”
Along with Landeros’ mother, partner and brother, Regan is asking the state to release Landeros’ body to allow the family to grieve. She is also asking that the police give access to school surveillance video of the shooting as well as access to the autopsy reports.
Landeros’ shooting occurred one week before oral arguments are to be heard in another Eugene Police Department shooting of a veteran, Brian Babb. EPD says Babb was pointing a gun at officers when shot, something the family disputes.
There was no video footage of the Babb shooting. EPD has said previously that allegations that Babb was unarmed are false.
CLDC writes of the Landeros shooting that, “Unlike the investigation into the police shooting death of fellow veteran Brian Babb, the family demands that this investigation be transparent, unbiased and thorough.”
Eugene Police Auditor Mark Gissiner has called the report into the Babb shooting by the Lane County Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team (IDFIT) flawed.
CLDC wants the Landeros shooting to be given to the Eugene police Civilian Review Board as a community impact case. Such cases involve an investigation or complaint alleging excessive force, bias, disparate treatment or a violation of constitutional rights by sworn police personnel.
The Landeros shooting investigation is now in the hands of the IDFIT, according to EPD, which is referring questions about the shooting to the district attorney’s office. DA Patty Perlow says not to expect release of information early in the IDFIT process, as it’s “very important that the investigation not be compromised by the release of information before interviews are complete and evidence is gathered.”
Oral arguments in McGowan et al v. Stutesman et al. — the case Babb’s family filed against EPD officers, including Will Stutesman, who shot Babb, and the city of Eugene — are 10 am Friday, Jan. 18, in courtroom four at the federal courthouse in Eugene.
The $7.5-million lawsuit alleges, among other claims, that the police unreasonably used deadly force against Babb.
One of Babb’s sisters, Stephanie Babb, is starting a nonprofit, Brian’s Advocacy Brigade for Victims and Veterans. She says that if legislation BABVV has been working on had been in place, things could have been different. She says Brian’s Bill would develop a system that would let police know that they should take an extra moment with veterans or call in first responders from the Veterans Administration.
CLDC is raising money to fund an independent investigation into Landeros’ death, and donations in their memory can be made at cldc.org/donate.
A GoFundMe has also been started for the two Landeros children at GoFundMe.com/landeros-girls.
An earlier version of this story used incorrect pronouns in several places. We apologize for the error.