ashland.news
July 14, 2024

Man displays weapon, flees after being confronted about alleged shoplifting

Ashland police, with assistance from the Jackson County Sheriff's department, The Oregon State Police and the Talent Police Department responded to a call of a man with a gun at the Pines Trailer Park at the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Walker Avenue in Ashland Friday afternoon. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
June 21, 2024

Police, deputies respond to Market of Choice area; man taken into custody, supposed gun turns out to be pepper spray device

By Morgan Rothborne, Ashland.news

Ashland resident Thomas Harley Epperson, 31, was approached by store security at Market of Choice on suspicion of shoplifting early Friday afternoon, Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara told Ashland.news about an incident that drew a large law enforcement response. 

Epperson fled and, in the area of the AT&T store in the Gateway Shopping Center, pulled out “what by all accounts anyone would think is a handgun,” O’Meara said. The market’s loss prevention specialist continued chasing the suspect, who ran into the Pines Mobile Home Park and disappeared. Ashland police, Talent police, state troopers and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office K-9 personnel were observed on the scene by Ashland.news. 

A K-9 located Epperson hiding under a residence in the park. The weapon was located with him and discovered to not be a traditional gun, O’Meara said. 

Ashland police, with assistance from the Jackson County Sheriff’s department, The Oregon State Police and the Talent Police Department responded to a call of a man with a gun at the Pines Trailer Park at the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Walker Avenue in Ashland Friday afternoon. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A pepper spray gun similar to that reported recovered by Ashland police on Friday. Ashland police photo

“(It was) something that looks just like a handgun but actually shoots pepper spray,” he said. 

Epperson was booked into Jackson County Jail on charges of menacing, disorderly conduct, and third-degree theft. Epperson also had a warrant out for his arrest at the time of the incident, O’Meara said. 

Epperson’s prior court record includes a conviction on charges of first degree burglary and first degree theft in 2014, according to court records. 

Email Ashland.news reporter Morgan Rothborne at morganr@ashland.news.

June 21: Story updated with photo of a weapon similar to that recovered Friday afternoon, according to Ashland police, and actual charges filed.

A woman walks by police cars that responded to a call of a man with a gun at the Pines Trailer Park at the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Walker Avenue in Ashland Friday afternoon. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
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Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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