Today was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day and Bend came out to celebrate our local police, sheriff’s office and state police. Central Oregon Daily’s Allison Roecker went to Bend Senior High where student wore blue in honor of law enforcement.
The story of an assault and robbery near Shevlin Park went viral on social media, but after some investigation it was found that the entire story was fabricated.
In mid-November a Facebook post by the daughter of Bend resident Deborah Connors circulated on local Facebook pages and was eventually reported to the Bend Police Department. The post alleged that Connors had been driving along Shevlin Park Road when she thought she struck an animal with her car.
The post went on to say that when Connors stopped to check she found that it was a stuffed toy but was then attacked by two men who threatened her with a knife, robbed her of the $4,000 that was in her purse and drove away in a black van.
Bend PD began investigating the claim after receiving numerous calls from concerned citizens who had seen the post online.
However, weeks after the original post, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said there is no truth to the story.
Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan has more on the story.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced Wednesday that he has officially closed his investigation on an officer involved shooting that took place in June. Hummel said he concluded that the officer’s decision to shoot Bend resident Timothy Bret Bontrager was legally justified.
The incident took place on June 26th around 11:30 p.m. when Bend Police officer Timothy Williams conducted a traffic stop on highway 97 and Cooley Road. Williams pulled over 36-year-old Bontrager for failure to use his turn signal. Bontrager pulled over into the driveway of the Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
Officer Williams approached the driver’s side of Bontrager’s vehicle. After he asked for Bontrager’s license and registration Williams suspected that Bontrager was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Williams said that Bontrager exhibited slow, deliberate speech and glassy, bloodshot eyes. Williams also noted that there were two opened 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor in Bontrager’s vehicle.
Officer Williams called for backup and Bend Police officer Kevin Uballez arrived on the scene. Williams approached the driver’s side door to ask Bontrager to perform a field sobriety test, which Bontrager refused.
Officer Williams informed officer Uballez that he would read Bontrager his ROHRS, shorthand for what a police officer can say to a suspected impaired driver who has refused an initial request to perform field sobriety tests. Williams also notified officer Uballez that if Bontrager continued to refuse to cooperate, officer Williams would arrest him.
Both officers approached the vehicle once again, Uballez on the passenger side as a cover position, while Williams began reading the ROHRS to Bontrager, stating that he was being asked to perform physical tests and his refusal to perform them could be used against him in court. Immediately after officer Williams asked Bontrager if he understood, Bontrager turned away from Williams, yelled, ‘here’s my proof of insurance!’ and reached for the glove compartment. This, Hummel said, is when the shooting began.
According to Hummel Uballez, who was standing on the passenger side of the car, saw Bontrager pull a gun from the glove box.
“Uballez yells ‘Gun! Gun!’ so Williams knows what’s happening,” said Hummel during his Wednesday press conference. “Immediately Bontrager put the gun to his head, pulled the trigger.”
Williams, thinking Bontrager was shooting at him or Uballez, fired seven shots into the car, striking Bontrager twice.
Williams then radioed that shots had been fired and both officers then checked on Bontrager, who was deceased.
Officer Williams had begun an audio recording once he realized Bontrager’s stop could become a DUI investigation. That recording, including the audio of the shooting, was played during Wednesday’s press conference.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was a perforating contact handgun shot to the head and that neither of the two rounds Williams shot into the vehicle was fatal.
According to the CDC, approximately nine people are killed every day, and more than 1000 are injured, in accidents that involve distracted drivers.
That’s why the City of Bend Police Department conducted an enhanced distracted driving enforcement detail throughout the city of Bend Thursday afternoon. The department hoped to educate the public on the dangers of cell phone usage and reduce the number of traffic incidents caused by using their phones behind the wheel.
In October of last year, Oregon enacted a new distracted driving law, which makes it illegal to drive while holding any electronic device. And if you get caught, it could come with some hefty fines and even jail time.
A first offense that doesn’t contribute to a crash is a class B violation with a maximum fine of $1,000. A second offense, or if the first offense contributes to a crash, is a class A violation with a maximum fine of $2,000. A third offense in ten years is a class B misdemeanor and could result in a maximum fine of $2,500 fine and could be 6 months in jail.
After replacing the outdated analog radio system for Deschutes County first responders, the county hoped its 911 radio issues would be solved. However a number of issues have arisen including lack of reception in buildings, no reception in other areas and volume variations. Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel sat down with Deschutes County Commissioners to see how they hope to tackle the issues that could threaten lives.
Police Are Investigating Monday’s Incident at the Bend Police Department
21-year-old Bend resident Samuel Wyatt Dennis was arrested this afternoon around 12:20 p.m. after a bizarre incident that occurred early this morning at the Bend Police Department.
Bend Police said an officer leaving their shift heard a commotion near the gate of the secured parking lot of the Bend Police Department around 2:15 a.m. and saw Dennis hitting the parking lot’s security key pad which was damaged beyond use. Though officers did attempt to contact Dennis, he sped away in his 1998 Dodge pickup.
Security footage also showed Dennis throwing an object into the secured lot, damaging a police vehicle. Footage also showed Dennis placing a board through the front door handles of the police department and leaning a heavy metal object against the door. Dennis also etched letters into the front glass door and on the concrete in front of the entry doors.
Later Dennis was identified as the subject after he also made calls to Bend Fire and Rescue threatening to “burn the community to the ground.”
Around 10:20 a.m. officers located Dennis’ vehicle at his residence. As officers and detectives attempted to contact Dennis in his driveway, he drove away leading them on a short pursuit before being stopped by spike strips.
Dennis was taken into custody just after 12:15 p.m.
Dennis is facing charges of criminal mischief in the first degree, reckless driving, attempt to elude and disorderly conduct. The investigation is ongoing.
In our weekly War Stories series we tell the stories of Central Oregon’s war veterans, some who made it back from their war and some who didn’t. In this War Stories segment, producer Warren Shultz introduces us to the story of Army veteran and longtime Prineville resident, Dan Swearingen.
A special thanks to Gary Gruner Chevrolet Buick GMC for sponsoring War Stories and giving us the time and resources to tell the stories of Central Oregon’s war veterans every Monday night on Central Oregon Daily.
A Bend Police Officer was involved in a deadly shooting late Tuesday night around 11:30 p.m. that left a 36-year-old male dead. This is the second deadly shooting in less than two year involving Bend Police Officers and the second deadly shooting in less than two weeks in Deschutes County.
In December 2016, 911 received reports of an erratic driver and when officers pulled over 31-year-old Michael Jacques they said he had glassy, bloodshot eyes and was unresponsive to questions.
After officers tased Jacques twice, his van started to move forward and officer Scott Schaier fired five shots.
The unarmed Jacques was killed.
The Oregon Department of Justice cleared the two officers involved of any wrongdoing, but the City of Bend did pay an $800,000 settlement to the Jacques family.
Tuesday nights incident began at 11:34 p.m. when Bend police officer Timothy Williams pulled over 36-year-old Bend resident Timothy Bret Bontrager for failing to use his turn signal near the intersection of Highway 97 and Cooley Road.
Bontrager pulled into the Lowe’s Home Improvement Store parking lot.
When Officer Williams approached the driver’s side of the vehicle to ask for Bontrager’s license and registration, he suspected Bontrager was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, District Attorney John Hummel said that the preliminary evidence suggest that Bontrager took his own life. Williams also fired shots into Bontrager’s truck but it is unclear in what order those two events took place, according to Hummel.
Bend Fire and Rescue declared Bontrager dead on the scene but the examination did note that Bontrager was found holding a handgun.
Bend Police Chief Jim Porter said that officer Williams and officer Kevin Uballez, who was also on the scene Tuesday, have been placed on administrative leave as part of standard protocol until the investigation is complete.
An autopsy is expected to be performed Thursday morning at the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office