Woman faces aggravated murder charges in Ore. cop's death

Woman faces aggravated murder charges in Ore. cop's death
Cheryl Dawn Kidd
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A woman faces aggravated murder charges in Friday's shooting death of an Oregon police officer as he attempted to pull over a car for running a red light.

Cheryl Dawn Kidd, 56, is being held in the Lane County Jail without bail for investigation of one count of aggravated murder. A motive for the shooting was not immediately clear.

She faces arraignment Monday.

Springfield Police Chief Jerry Smith told KVAL News that Kidd is the woman suspected of shooting Eugene police officer Chris Kilcullen, 43, as he attempted to make a traffic stop on Friday around 4:30 p.m.

She was taken into custody after a high-speed chase on country and forest roads that ended outside of Oakridge.

Kilcullen's death marks is the first killing of a Eugene Police Department officer in the line of duty since 1934.

His body was found slumped against a tire of a tractor-trailer rig in rush hour traffic.

The shooting when Kilcullen, a 12-year veteran, tried to stop the driver of a Buick Skylark. The driver fled, and Kilcullen pursued the sedan into nearby Springfield.

When cornered at a traffic light, the driver fired at least one shot from a handgun that struck Kilcullen, officials said. Police say he did not return fire.

Bobbie Clark of Springfield told KEZI-TV in Eugene that she watched the chase unfold and followed Kilcullen's motorcycle. When she arrived at the shooting site, she found Kilcullen shot.

"It is so sad. They work so hard, and it's not fair," Clark said. "I was hoping she'd be the one to run into something and not him."

Springfield Police Chief Jerry Smith said his department was seeking search warrants for Kidd's Springfield apartment and her car.

"We're contacting neighbors, associates, trying to learn a little more about her," Smith said. He said his department hadn't yet found any relatives of Kidd in the area.

Kidd was cornered after the shooting at a dead-end Forest Service road near Lowell. She remained in the car for at least two hours until being coaxed from the vehicle and arrested without incident.

Kilcullen's father told KVAL-TV that his son was a good officer who enjoyed police work.

Kilcullen was hired in 1998 and won employee of the month awards in May 2004 and June 2008 after conducting the most investigations, arrests, traffic citations and field interviews among Eugene police officers. He moved to the traffic unit in 2005 and was a longtime member of the department's crisis negotiation team.

Before becoming a police officer, Kilcullen was a radio DJ and worked in youth social services. The father of two earned bachelor's degrees in sociology and psychology.

Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns on Saturday called Kilcullen's career "remarkable" and said he had earned 85 commendations in his career, even from drivers he stopped.

"He saved many lives from suicide and other disasters," as part of the department's crisis negotiation team, Kerns said.

Officer Jim McBride said he served with Kilcullen for 12 years.

"If you were to rank (Eugene Police Department) officers from the nicest guys down, Chris Kilcullen was No. 1," McBride said. "She got our best. That's it."