University of Oregon student Ryan Bax pleaded guilty on Aug. 7 to reckless endangerment. Bax was charged with shooting an “unhoused” woman — police-speak for “homeless” — with a BB gun at East 11th Avenue and Mill Street around 8:40 a.m. on July 10.
The victim called the police, who arrived at the scene and gave Bax a citation in lieu of custody.
According to Carol Berg-Caldwell, who volunteers at the Eugene Municipal Court through the Independent Court Observers Network, Bax was very apologetic and genuine.
“He was forthright and honest about what he had done,” Berg-Caldwell said. “He understood that his actions were wrong.”
She has been volunteering with ICON for more than two years and has heard many stories about the homeless being shot with BB guns.
“I guess people do it for the humor, but nothing justifies injuring another human being,” she said. “There is no humor in having to do road crew.”
Bax was sentenced with 12 days of road crew (where offenders work in supervised crews to clean up roads, parks and other locations throughout Lane County), loss of his weapon and probation for one year. In addition, he unofficially agreed to start a blog to help people who may take out their frustration, anger or other emotions on the homeless and help stop the trend.