Home > News > 

Sheriff died in shootout, investigators say

As you remember these fallen officers, take comfort in recalling that they dedicated their lives to the same principles of honor, duty and courage that brought you to the badge. Such a life is truly rich. Take strength in knowing that when an officer falls, our resolve to serve those in need is not diminished. Our dedication to protecting those in danger is not weakened. Our commitment to remembering those with whom we shared the badge does not fade.

Godspeed, brothers and sisters. You fought the good fight. Now rest in peace…

February 27, 2004

Print Register RSS What's This

Sheriff died in shootout, investigators say

Officer Down: Al Eastman - [Clatskanie, Oregon]

Sheriff died in shootout, investigators say


Associated Press

Former Oregon sheriff Al Eastman died in a shootout with a fugitive who had taken refuge in an abandoned house across the street from his home, police said.

Eastman and the suspect, 23-year-old Jason B. Woodruff, on the run for allegedly passing bad checks, were both found dead in the abandoned farm house on Wednesday, after Eastman's wife reported hearing shots fired.

Initially, police said they were unsure whether Eastman was killed in a murder-suicide or in a shootout with Woodruff. Investigators said Thursday they are sure it was a shootout, and can partly reconstruct what happened.

Eastman saw an open door at the vacant farmhouse across the street, grabbed his handgun and went to see what was wrong, said Capt. Jerry Gregg of the Oregon State Police.

Inside the house, Eastman, 69, encountered Woodruff at the foot of the stairs. Woodruff also was carrying a handgun. They both fired, hitting each other.

"The million-dollar question was whether it was a murder-suicide or a shootout," Gregg said. "They shot one another. What a horrible situation."

Two handguns were found at the scene and an autopsy concluded both men died in a close-range shootout. Their bodies were found a few feet apart.

"They very possibly startled one another," Gregg said. "Of course, we'll never know that for sure."

The encounter happened about 11:30 a.m., after police had alerted residents of this Columbia River Gorge town that an armed suspect had fled on foot into the neighborhood.

In addition to the normal police response, the state police scrambled its Special Weapons and Tactics team. Neighbors were evacuated, and the house was surrounded for several hours before the bodies were discovered.

Eastman spent four years as the Clatsop County sheriff, retiring in 1986 after a 26-year career with the department.


Information from: The Oregonian

Has an officer fallen in your department or local area? Submit news articles and information on the incident to the PoliceOne site.

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of PoliceOne or its staff.

Denotes officer was a registered member of the PoliceOne Community

PoliceOne Offers

Back to Officer Down Section


Support the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and help honor America’s law enforcement officers – especially our fallen heroes



Concerns of Police Survivors

COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) provides resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

TASER Foundation

The TASER Foundation’s mission is to honor the service and sacrifice of local and federal law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty by providing financial and edcuational support to their families.

More Officer Downs

All Officer Downs Submit an Officer Down

Tribute Videos

We ride for those who died Tribute for fallen officers Never alone, never forgotten Police Week Tribute