No Charges Filed in Officer Involved Shooting

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.

Bend Police Department Cracks Down on Distracted Driving

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.

County Still Struggling with 911 Radios

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.

Suspect Arrested After Threatening Police

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.

War Stories: Dan Swearingen

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.

Bend Police Involved in Deadly Shooting

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

Meet Marshall

Sgt. Liz Lawrence from the Bend Police Department stopped by Central Oregon Daily to introduce us to the department’s therapy dog Marshall.

Road Rage Victim Speaks Out

On Friday June 1, two women were allegedly assaulted during a road rage incident in southwest Bend. 49-year-old Jay Barbeau of Redmond is accused of attacking two women after they allegedly cut him off while exiting a parking lot in downtown Bend.

According to Megan Stackhouse, the driver of the vehicle, she and her fiancee Lucinda Mann were leaving an event in downtown when they pulled in front of Barbeau’s truck. Stackhouse said she could see Barbeau yelling at them from inside his vehicle as he drove behind them. Stackhouse said Barbeau continued to follow her and Mann through the Wilson Road traffic circle.

Soon after Stackhouse pulled over, hoping Barbeau would pass them rather than follow them all the way home. Instead Stackhouse said Barbeau pulled over, jumped out of his vehicle and smashed the back window of her car with his bare hand. He then came around to Stackhouse’s window and grabbed her arm, snapping her wrist. Mann jumped out of the car to help but, according to Stackhouse, Barbeau hit Mann, knocking her unconscious.

Stackhouse said Barbeau’s wife was yelling at him to get back in the truck, when he did Stackhouse stood in front of his vehicle to prevent him from running over Mann, who still lay in the middle of the street. Stackhouse tried to reach for her phone to call the police but realized her right arm wasn’t functional.

A Bend police officer who happened to be in the area came upon the scene. Stackhouse, Mann and Barbeau were all taken to St. Charles Hospital in Bend to be treated for various injuries. Stackhouse sustained a compound fracture on her right arm, which required surgery on June 4. Mann was treated for a concussion and a neck injury.

Barbeau was arrested at the scene and is currently being held in the Deschutes County Jail on charges of reckless driving, first degree criminal mischief, fourth degree assault and three counts of second degree assault. He’s scheduled to be arraigned June 11.

Supper Club: Community Response Team

There’s a special team within the Bend Police Department who handle all of the mental health crisis calls, which can range anywhere from five to 15 calls a day.

For this week’s Supper Club, Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel sat down with the three officers to talk about their daily work on the front lines of the ongoing mental health crisis.

Thanks to Sergeant Elizabeth Lawrence, Officer Kecia Weaver and Officer Jake Chandler for joining us.

A special thanks to our Supper Club sponsors, Selco Community Credit Union, for giving us the time and resources to talk about the issues that impact our region every Tuesday night on Central Oregon Daily.

The Search for Sara Continues

It’s been nearly two months since Bend resident Sara Gomez was last seen, and even though the prime suspect in her disappearance is now dead, Sara’s family and friends continue to look for her.

Central Oregon Daily’s Austin Reed has been following this case from the beginning and caught up with the family today as they get ready for another search this weekend.

Bend police detectives are also still taking tips and hope to come up with any new clues in the case.