Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Kintzley was presented with an award on Tuesday, Nov. 17 for his bravery, decisiveness and restraint during the life-threatening situation he faced on Saturday, Sept. 12 when he responded to a call of shots being fired at the Interstate 8 Motel.
Prior to the Sept. 12 incident — on Saturday, July 11 — Christmas Valley resident Terry Dickson had been taken into protective custody after threatening suicide with a firearm, Sheriff Mike Taylor said. He was cleared by Mental Health shortly thereafter and deemed not to be a threat to himself or others. Mental Health employees found temporary housing for Dixon at the Interstate 8 Motel. Dickson then went to his home in Christmas Valley to retrieve some of his personal belongings, including a Glock pistol, and returned to the motel.
On Sept. 12, Kintzley arrived at the motel and was surveilling the room when Dickson emerged with a gun in his hand and pointed it at Kintzley. After multiple warnings to drop the gun, Dickson began backing into his room while still pointing the gun at Kintzley, who then discharged one round, striking Dickson in the chest. Dickson was later found deceased inside his room.
Taylor presented the award to Kintzley during the County Commissioners meeting. He noted, “This award is not from me; it’s from our entire office.” Taylor emphasized that Kintzley was not being recognized for taking a life, but for how he handled the situation while facing “a police officer’s worst nightmare.”
The Lake County Grand Jury determined Kintzley’s use of force was justifiable under ORS 161.239 and House Bill 4301(2020). A Deadly Force Review Board convened by the Sheriff’s Office also concluded that the use of force was justified in a 5-0 decision.
“I am extremely proud of Deputy Kintzley’s actions and demeanor during this terrible situation. It is my opinion Deputy Kintzley acted honorably and with extreme diligence and restraint, placing his own safety at risk for the welfare of multiple citizens present at the time of the shooting,” Taylor expressed. While an officer never wants to take a life, he said, the situation could have had an even worse outcome.
Commissioner Brad Winters was visibly emotional during the award presentation. “I’m very proud of Craig. This is proof of how well-trained our men and women are,” he said.