Scheduling conflicts have pushed back when a Umatilla County grand jury will hear evidence in the case of an Athena police sergeant shooting and killing a man.

Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus said the investigation of Erik Palmer's shooting of Tere King the morning of April 28 is moving along, but he could not discuss specifics at this time. "I anticipate making a statement after grand jury," Primus said Friday.

Early in the week of May 19 is as soon an Primus said he could present the case. Grand juries in Umatilla County, he explained, tour the county jail, Pendleton, and the two state prisons in the county -- Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, Pendleton, and Two Rivers Correctional Institution, Umatilla. Those tours are next week, he said, so the scheduling conflict pushed back the review.

King, 55, had been on the run from Milton-Freewater police since the evening of April 26, according to previous information from Primus. Palmer found King two days later in his Ford F150 pickup south of Highway 11 on Pambrun Road. King aimed the pickup at Palmer, who shot out its tires. King got out with a firearm and Palmer shot once, killing King.

Palmer has shot three people, two fatally, in his police career in Eastern Oregon. He remains on paid leave from the Athena Police Department pending the grand jury outcome.

That leaves Athena, population about 1,200, with police Sgt. John Reitz as the only city cop, but the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office and other agencies also provide law enforcement help.

Contact Phil Wright at or 541-966-0833.

This story originally appeared in East Oregonian.



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