Details of Trooper Cederberg shootout released

James Tylka was shot 21 times

Sherwood Police Officers arrived at the scene where James Tylka shot Oregon State Police Trooper Nic Cederberg on December 25, 2016. (Body cam video still)
Sherwood Police Officers arrived at the scene where James Tylka shot Oregon State Police Trooper Nic Cederberg on December 25, 2016. (Body cam video still)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Washington County District Attorney’s office has released details of the Christmas Day shooting that left Oregon State Trooper Nic Cederberg seriously wounded.

Five of the police officers involved were justified in using deadly force against James Tylka, the Washington County District Attorney’s office said. According to the report, the way the 5 officers responded after Cederberg was shot likely saved additional lives.

An undated photo of OSP Trooper Nic Cederberg provided by OSP.
An undated photo of OSP Trooper Nic Cederberg provided by OSP.

The report of the incident details the actions of Officers Stanley Smith, Christopher Pierce, Joseph Twigg, all from the Sherwood Police Department, Eli Sanders with Tualatin PD and Anthony Christofaro of Hillsboro PD, who responded after Cederberg was injured.

The investigation concluded that Cederberg and Tylka fired at each other, and when Cederberg was down, Tylka took the trooper’s weapon and fired at him with it. Tylka hid in the bushes with Cederberg’s gun.

Warning: Body camera video contains graphic language and visuals

The other officers arrived at the scene knowing Cederberg had stopped responding on his radio and saw that he was injured when they arrived. They also knew at that point that Tylka had committed a homicide and was armed and eluding police, the DA said.

The officers coordinated in what police call a “360-cell” to cover each other. They found Tylka hiding in dense vegetation on an embankment about 10 yards away and saw that he was armed. When Tylka pointed his weapon at them, they fired until they determined he was no longer a threat.

Read officer accounts of the shootout

According to the report, each officer fired his weapon at least 1 time. Smith and Pierce each fired one round, Twigg fired twice, Sanders fired 17 rounds and Christofaro fired 19.

James Tylka in an undated photo found on Facebook. He died in a shootout with an OSP trooper on Dec. 25, 2016 after shooting and killing his wife.
James Tylka in an undated photo found on Facebook. He died in a shootout with an OSP trooper on Dec. 25, 2016 after shooting and killing his wife.

State medical examiner Dr. Karen Gunson said one of the 21 shots that hit Tylka was a self-inflicted shot to the head. Other bullets hit him in the torso, consistent with the angle of the hillside where Tylka was hiding when the officers fired at him.

After Tylka was deemed not to be a threat, Twigg, an Army National Guard vet, provided first aid to Cederberg using a combat trauma kit. Medical professionals credit Twigg with saving Cederberg’s life. Cederberg’s brother, Jeff Cederberg, said the Trooper was shot 12 times and 7 bullets hit his body, 5 hit his bulletproof vest.

Trooper Nic Cederberg took his first steps last week since being hospitalized. January 17, 2017, (YouTube: CederbergJ)
Trooper Nic Cederberg took his first steps last week since being hospitalized. January 17, 2017, (YouTube: CederbergJ)

Dashboard and body camera videos contributed to the investigation. The body camera video released to media is from Officer Smith.

The DA’s office said due to the extend of Cederberg’s injuries, the investigation into his role in the shooting is not complete. Cederberg was hospitalized for 48 days after the shooting.

The Sherwood Police Department said the three officers from Sherwood were honored at their annual awards banquet for their actions that night. Cederberg’s parents were there when Twigg was awarded the Lifesaving Medal and Medal of Valor and Smith and Pierce were given the Medal of Valor.

“It is always an honor to present these awards to such a deserving group of dedicated public servants,” Chief Jeff Groth said in a statement.

The officers have all returned to their regular duties and want to return to normal.