Marion County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Justified In Using Deadly Physical Force

Posted on November 19, 2020

Marion Co. Dist. Attorney’s Office – 11/18/20 7:42 PM

Today a Marion County Grand Jury unanimously found that Marion County Deputy Sheriff Ricky Kittelson was justified in using deadly force when he discharged his weapon during an attempted hostage rescue that occurred last September.

On September 28th, 2020 at approximately 12:30 pm, Karina Bustos-Ramirez  called 9-1-1 to report that her ex-boyfriend, Jose “Chewy” Lopez-Tinoco (dob 10-9-85) was at the house of her sister, Laura Rocio-Bustos, that he was armed with a gun and that he was threatening to kill her family.  Several members of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene, located at 244 Juneva Place, Salem.  Upon arrival the deputies located Lopez-Tinoco’s truck parked in the driveway and they began to take up positions around the perimeter of the residence while a Marion County Sheriff’s Office negotiator made contact with Lopez-Tinoco by phone.

At approximately 1:17 pm the deputies on scene were advised that Lopez-Tinoco had agreed to come out of the residence unarmed and they began to prepare to take him into custody.  However, Lopez-Tinoco did not come out and just as the deputies were relaying that information back to their supervisors they heard at least one gunshot coming from inside the residence.[1]

Upon hearing the shot(s) the deputies quickly transitioned their plan from taking Lopez-Tinoco into custody to one of hostage rescue and made their way to the front door.  Just as they breached the door Deputy Ricky Kittelson fired 4 shots in rapid succession believing that he saw the suspect fleeing down the hall towards the master bedroom.  Deputy Kittelson did not strike any person with any of his shots.[2]  Deputy Kittelson was told to get back and other deputies began to yell for Laura Rocio-Bustos, who was lying on the floor approximately 15 feet from the front door, to come to them.  Laura had been shot in the head by Lopez-Tinoco prior to the deputies making entry and despite her injuries she was able to belly crawl to the deputies who then carried her from the scene while others continued their entry into the residence.[3]

Once inside, the deputies found that Lopez-Tinoco had barricaded himself in the master bedroom located down the hall in the back of the residence.  Deputies tried to get Lopez-Tinoco to surrender even telling him “that it wasn’t too late” and that “she was still alive.”  Lopez-Tinoco refused and yelled at them to “get back” and telling them that “he had two kids” with him.

As the deputies made their way down the hall to attempt a rescue of the children they heard another volley of shots.  Due to the urgency of the situation and despite the risks of standing in front of the door where an armed man was inside, one deputy kicked the door.  While the kick created a hole in the door it still did not force the door open.  Another deputy was able to quickly look through the hole and believed he could see a male juvenile on the floor in front of the door.

As this was rapidly unfolding, members of the Salem Police Department arrived on scene to assist and entered the residence as well.  One of the Salem Officers had a ballistic shield and took up a spot in front of the bedroom door.  This allowed a deputy to use a battering ram to open the bedroom door.  When police entered the room they found a young boy, later identified as Laura’s 11 year old son, lying on the floor, bleeding profusely from his head.  Deputies immediately carried the boy out to an awaiting ambulance and he was rushed to Salem Hospital where he was pronounced dead. He had been shot twice in the head.

Law enforcement officers also found Lopez-Tinoco’s dead body lying back on the floor between the bed and nightstand with an obvious self-inflicted gunshot wound to his right temple.  His gun was still in his hand.

In the attached bathroom they found the body of Diairi Bustos-Bustos, Laura’s 24 year old daughter.  She was deceased and had been shot once and had a bullet hole between her eyes.[4]

In the bedroom directly across the hall from the master deputies found Laura’s 13 year old son and quickly carried him to safety.  He later told investigators that he had heard his mother arguing with Lopez-Tinoco and then heard a gunshot and saw a flash through the crack in the door.[5]  He said that he stayed in his room until police came and got him.  He also told investigators that he did not know his sister was home and when he heard Lopez-Tinoco yell that he “had two kids”, he believed Lopez-Tinoco was referring to his brother and himself.

In the subsequent investigation police learned that Karina Bustos-Ramirez had been in a long term relationship with Lopez-Tinoco and that he tried to control all aspects of her life.  They also learned that Karina had been trying to end her relationship with Lopez-Tinoco for months but hadn’t due to his threats to either kill himself or to kill her and her family if she ever did leave him.  In spite of these threats she had secretly been planning for a way to escape from him and had recently rented an apartment for herself and her children.  On the morning of September 28th, once Lopez-Tinoco had left for work, Karina packed up and moved out of the house she had shared with Lopez-Tinoco.  She then sent him a text telling him that she had left and that she “needed some time alone.”  Lopez-Tinoco responded by telling her that he would make sure she was “always alone” by killing her family.  He then left work and went to her sister, Laura’s house on Juneva Place.

Once there he contacted Karina and told her he would kill Laura and Laura’s children if she did not come see him.  Karina hung up and called 9-1-1.  She also called Lopez-Tinoco’s brother, Tony and told him what was going on and gave him Laura’s address.  Tony then drove to the scene, although he was kept from approaching the residence by law enforcement.  While on the scene Tony heard gunshots from the direction of Laura’s home and saw several police officers run towards the residence.  Tony told investigators that he then received a phone call from his brother who said something to the effect of, “I’ve done something stupid please forgive me” and then hung up the phone.

Additionally, investigators interviewed Laura Rocio-Bustos.  She told them that prior to the shooting Lopez-Tinoco was at her house and that he was extremely upset and agitated.  She said that Lopez-Tinoco was fixated on the idea of speaking with Karina Bustos-Ramirez and made multiple attempts to get in touch with her.  Laura said that she and Lopez-Tinoco were discussing allegations of his abuse when the Sheriff’s negotiator called him.  At that point she said that he pulled out a gun and told her that it “was all over.”  Laura said that she tried to calm him down and at one point even convinced him to leave the gun in the kitchen and to go talk to the police.  She said just as they were walking to the front door he changed his mind and went back to get the gun.  Laura told investigators that she wasn’t going to leave without her children so she followed him and tried to get the gun away from him but that he was too big.[6]  She said that Lopez-Tinoco told her he was going to kill her family and that “Karina would regret this” right before he shot her.  Laura then fell to the ground and watched as Lopez-Tinoco walked down the hall towards her kid’s bedrooms while she yelled, “don’t kill my children!”  Laura said she heard the police breach the door and heard more gunshots but she couldn’t tell where the shots came from.  She said that she then crawled to the door and police dragged her out of the house.

The tragic facts of this this double murder / suicide are undisputed.  Jose “Chewy” Lopez-Tinoco, in an act of sadistic cruelty, shot Laura Rocio-Bustos, executed her two children, and then killed himself rather than face the consequences of what he had done.

Because Deputy Ricky Kittelson fired his gun during the attempted hostage rescue Marion County SB 111 protocol applies.  For that reason, the investigation of this case was conducted not by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, but rather by an outside agency, the Oregon State Police.  Additionally, even though Deputy Kittelson did not shoot anyone, Marion County’s SB 111 mandates that any intentional use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer, regardless of the outcome of that force, will be presented to the grand jury.

The question before the grand jury was whether the use of deadly force by Marion County Deputy Sheriff Ricky Kittelson was justified.  Under Oregon Law, deadly physical force by a law enforcement officer is justified only if the officer reasonably believes that another person is committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person, committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling, or using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person.

Today the grand jury listened to the evidence, reviewed the exhibits and applied the applicable law.  Their unanimous conclusion was that Marion County Deputy Sheriff Ricky Kittelson’s use of deadly force was justified.


[1] There were different accounts provided by the different witnesses as to the number of shots they heard.

[2] All four shots were accounted for during the subsequent investigation.  Three of the shots were fired into the floor and then ricocheted into the kitchen.  The fourth shot was fired through the wall directly across from the front door and lodged in the carport of the neighboring residence.

[3] Laura Rocio-Bustos was transported by ambulance to Salem Hospital.  She had been shot near her left temple and the bullet had exited behind her left ear.

[4] Autopsies of the 11 year old boy, Diairi Bustos-Bustos and Jose Lopez-Tinoco were performed on September 30, 2020, at the Oregon Medical Examiner’s Office in Clackamas, Oregon.  Dr. Cliff Nelson determined that the cause of death of all three was a gunshot wound. The manner of death of the 11 year old boy and Diairi was homicide.  The manner of death for Jose Lopez-Tinoco was suicide.

[5] The 13 year old boy even called 9-1-1 from his bedroom while the event was going on.

[6] Jose Lopez-Tinoco was 6’0” and 310 pounds according to his driver’s license.

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