By editorial board • 

Shooting case conclusion leaves much unanswered

The expression “raises more questions than answers” has come into such wide use over such an extended period of time that its origins seem to raise more questions than answers in their own right. But it fits the recently concluded Dillan Joseph Cashman shooting case to a T.

To recap in brief:

About 10:30 the Saturday morning of July 30, 2022, McMinnville police were dispatched to a domestic disturbance call at a two-story house on SW Mount Mazama. They were greeted by a barrage of fireworks and gunshots being loosed by one of the homeowners — Cashman, a mentally disturbed man well-known to them from past encounters.

Then 32, he had a criminal record extending back to the age of 18 in Yamhill, Lincoln and Multnomah counties. What’s more, they had just been out to the same residence on the same kind of call the previous day, uneventfully on that occasion.

He ended up firing 243 rounds from seven firearms — four semi-automatic rifles, two semi-automatic handguns and a revolver. And that served to terrorize the neighborhood, as well as teams of responding officers from multiple agencies during the ensuing three-hour siege.

On Friday, a jury acquitted him of four counts of attempted aggravated murder and two counts of attempted first-degree assault, apparently concluding he was firing aimlessly in the grip of a mental crisis, without either intent or premeditation. It found him guilty of six counts of unlawful use of a weapon, and in a separate ruling, Judge Ladd Wiles found him guilty of seven counts each of felon in possession of a firearm.


* What was a convicted felon with an extensive criminal record and well-documented bi-polar disorder doing with a large cache of weapons and ammunition? How did he manage to acquire and retain such an arsenal through arrests for harassing his wife, targeting a gay couple in a park, engaging in criminal mischief, violating his probation, failing to appear in court, attempting to elude police and other offenses of like nature?

* How could Oregon spend almost $1 billion a year on mental health programs, but manage to fail a man so troubled he amassed 1,000 pages of medical reports? How could it not better respond to repeated incidents coming to institutional attention, including a visit he paid to the emergency room the day before he invoked the 1993 Waco bloodbath in staging his armed siege?

* How could prosecutors pursue attempted aggravated murder charges, but nothing on the order of reckless endangering, which would appear to much better fit the crime? How much money, time and effort went into a trial producing nothing beyond the most basic and obvious convictions? Couldn’t the defendant have benefited much more from some mental health treatment than 302 days in the county jail awaiting his fate?

* How did it escape official attention that Cashman managed his bipolar disorder adequately when he took his meds, but periodically opted to get off track and self-medicate with marijuana instead? What kind of monitoring was Yamhill County Mental Health providing? And what kind of family help was it getting?

* Finally, how is it that Mac PD’s initial response featured 14 shots from a pair of rifles, serving to escalate rather than de-escalate an incident clearly putting an array of neighbors at imminent threat? Was that truly the wisest course, evaluated in the cold light of day?

We are not trying to indict, merely to raise questions that don’t seem to have been fully and satisfactorily answered to this point — questions that could perhaps benefit from further reflection.

As defense attorney Zachary Stern noted in his closing argument, “Mental illness is not a choice, it’s a tragedy.” And it should be approached that way by all concerned, including members of the medical, legal, mental health and law enforcement communities.

With concerted effort, it seems to us the community and its institutions might have had the means to keep pot and guns out of a troubled man’s hands and help him stay on his meds. And if so, we’d have gotten a much better result.


Bill B

The real question is what (or who) is going to stop this from happening again?


Well i guess he will do this again and hopefully he won't kill someone but sooner or later he will.