A shooting involving a Jackson County sheriff's deputy Tuesday morning occurred at the residence of a man who waged a lengthy foreclosure court battle and was ordered in May to be removed by sheriff's deputies.
So far, law enforcement has not revealed the name or even gender of the person shot, whether he or she survived, the name of the deputy involved or what prompted the sheriff's department to respond to the house.
"We're not going to confirm anything until we get our stuff in order tomorrow morning," Sheriff Mike Winters said late Tuesday. "We think that's just the best way to handle things."
Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson did say the deputy was unhurt. The shooting occurred at about 10:05 a.m. Tuesday at 35 Mistletoe Road, next-door to Blackstone Audio in south Ashland. The county's multi-agency Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit, which includes the sheriff's department, Oregon State Police and officers from Central Point, Ashland and Medford, responded.
"Anytime there is a large case (like) an officer-involved shooting, MADIU is called out," Carlson said.
OSP is acting as the lead investigator on the case, Carlson said. Calls to OSP Tuesday were not returned.
Alan Weiss, who works at Blackstone Audio, said he had been on break when he noticed a sheriff's department truck and a cruiser parked in front of the home at 35 Mistletoe. Numerous officers from other agencies also arrived, several with weapons at the ready.
"They were pretty much in a hurry to get there," Weiss said.
He said someone was loaded into an ambulance. Though the sheriff's department confirmed there was a shooting, Weiss said he heard no gunshots.
"I usually can hear anything and everything," Weiss said. "Didn't hear anything at all."
Property records show Earl Cranston Harris as the owner on the Mistletoe property. Weiss described him as "a colorful character" who had sent angry emails to Blackstone officials, posted his property with detailed "No Trespassing" signs and flew the American flag upside down.
A sign on Harris' property specifically warns away the sheriff's department and any government agent, police officer, Realtor or attorney.
"Be advised that Mr. Harris and all designees reserve all rights, and per the supreme law of the land, will prosecute all violators to the full extent of the law," the sign reads.
Blackstone employee Marianne Casilio said she had no personal encounters with Harris, but that she was warned about him when she started work there.
"He has a reputation," Casilio said.
Harris was fighting an April 11 residential eviction notice signed by Jackson County Circuit Judge Ron Grensky that was part of a protracted foreclosure case U.S. Bank filed on the property in July 2011, court records show.
An eviction action signed May 22 was sent to the sheriff's department ordering deputies to remove Harris and anyone else at the Mistletoe Road address, but it did not state when any such physical eviction was to be carried out, court documents show.
Harris represented himself in suing Grensky in U.S. District Court in December 2012, trying to get Grensky's January 2012 foreclosure thrown out. In his complaint, Harris claimed that the state court didn't have jurisdiction in the case and that Grensky was running a "foreclosure mill" process that showed bias against Harris, court papers state.
As recently as April 29, Harris filed a five-page complaint in federal court claiming his property was fraudulently foreclosed upon and that the residential eviction notice also was fraudulently obtained, according to Harris' affidavit filed in that case.
No other documents have been entered in that federal case.
Court records reveal he was born in 1940 but there is no known criminal history in Oregon for Harris, who described himself in court papers as honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy.
In July 2013, Harris told the Ashland Daily Tidings he was opposed to a new cell tower AT&T hoped to install on Mistletoe Road, saying he feared it could harm his health and the health of others.
Mail Tribune reporter Sam Wheeler contributed to this story.