11/23/2014

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KATU Investigators

'Only by the grace of God,' Coates family forgives shooter

'Only by the grace of God,' Coates family forgives shooter

WEST LINN, Ore. – Clackamas County sheriff Sgt. Damon Coates holds no ill will against the teenager who shot him in the face, nearly killing him 10 years ago and leaving him with a permanent brain injury.

Coates and his wife, Tammy, had a private meeting with Nick Teixeira on Wednesday, during which they prayed with him.

The meeting between the Coates family and Teixeira came as the Oregon Psychiatric Review Board cleared the way for the young man to transfer to a Pendleton residential treatment facility.

Teixeira shot Coates as Coates responded to the 15-year-old’s home near Milwaukie on reports of a psychotic boy.

Teixeira was found guilty except for insanity on attempted aggravated murder and sentenced to 20 years at a state psychiatric facility.

Now 25, Teixeira is making amends with the Coates family. He gave the couple a Christian trinket – an appropriate token for the devout Christians who said it's by their faith they found the ability to forgive.

"Only by the grace of God, truly" said Tammy. "It's only by our faith in God through Christ. There's no other way to explain it."

Teixeira's attorney, Harris Matarazzo, said his client is doing well and hasn't been on medication since 2007. Additionally, Matarazzo said his client has earned the transfer granted by the state Psychiatric Review Board to a residential facility in eastern Oregon. He said Teixeira will still be held accountable 24/7. He said in his opinion, the people of Pendleton shouldn’t be concerned.

"Of course, I work with individuals who have successfully asserted an insanity defense," Matarazzo said. "The PSRB by law is required to put community safety first before anything else."

The state hospital spokeswoman told KATU News the Pendleton Cottage has an eight foot tall barbed wire fence and locked gates and doors. There's a 24-hour staff and no patients have ever walked away from the facility when they weren't supposed to.

If you have a story for our investigative team, we want to hear from you. Email us at investigators@katu.com.

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