St. Charles ER confrontation investigated

Man accused of assaulting staff in critical condition

A Bend man who allegedly assaulted emergency room staff at St. Charles Medical Center-Bend last weekend, then confronted a responding police officer was in critical condition at the hospital Friday as several agencies continue to investigate what happened, police said.

Around 7 p.m. last Sunday, Deschutes County 911 dispatchers got several calls from ER employees reporting that a patient was out of control and assaulting staff there, said Capt. Jim Porter.

Within minutes, a Bend officer arrived at the ER entrance, Porter said.

At that point, the man, identified as Jerry J. Nichols, 64, left the table where he was sitting, crossed into the parking area where the officer was getting out of his patrol car "and advanced toward the officer in an aggressive and challenging manner," Porter said in a news release.

The officer tried to verbally calm Nichols, without success, Porter said. As Nichols continued advancing toward the officer "in a fighting stance," the officer unsuccessfully tried to use a Taser to stop him, the captain said.

The officer then used "an open hand strike" to strike the man's face and stop Nichols "attempted assault as he continued to advance on the officer," Porter said.

Nichols was admitted to the hospital and is in critical condition, Porter said.

No further details were released. A joint investigation is being conducted by the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office and detectives from Oregon State Police and the Bend Police Department, the captain said, referring any other questions to the DA's office.

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