Dugan: Bend Man Killed By Detective Had No Gun
The Bend man shot and killed by a police detective in a vehicle outside a northeast Bend drug bust early Friday appeared to be reaching for a weapon, but no gun was found on him or in the vehicle, Deschutes County District Attorney Mike Dugan said Sunday.
A witness to the incident that led to Bend police Det. Thomas Brown's fatal shooting of Refugio Cruz-Fuentes, 28, in the driveway of a home on NE Wichita Way saw him making a potentially threatening move, Dugan told NewsChannel 21.
"The investigation, as I understand it, so far as I have read, indicates that before he was shot, it appeared he was reaching for a weapon," Dugan said.
But the DA also made clear he has not reviewed all the statements or the details of the investigation thus far.
"If I don't believe a crime was committed, then I will release the details and say so," Dugan said. "If I do believe a crime was committed, or it's too close to call, the case will go to a grand jury" to review the evidence of what transpired.
Police late Saturday identified Brown, a 14-year veteran of the force, as the officer who shot and killed Cruz-Fuentes, also identifying the victim.
Brown has been placed on paid administrative leave, following Deschutes County's deadly-force protocol, said Interim Police Chief Sandy Baxter. So have four other Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team members who were involved in the raid Thursday night, she said in a news release.
"The execution of the search warrant on Wichita was the result of a long-term investigation of a drug trafficking organization specializing in the distribution and sales of methamphetamine throughout Oregon," Baxter said.
Baxter identified the other officers on the scene and placed on leave as Bend police Lt. John Gautney, Prineville police Det. Jeffrey Frickey, Redmond police Det. Lee Gilbert and Deschutes County sheriff's Det. Michael Sundberg.
Baxter added that all further information about the investigation would be released by Dugan's office.
Baxter had said in another release Friday evening that the officer shot and killed one of two people in a car that was reportedly delivering methamphetamine to the northeast Bend home that had been raided two hours earlier.
CODE Team executing the search warrant seized a large amount of cash, meth and two weapons, she said.
During the raid, detectives obtained information that more people were en route to the home, intending to delivery meth to the resident, Baxter said.
Around 12:20 a.m., three people arrived at the home in a vehicle, she said. The driver was arrested as he approached the home, and he was found to possess meth, a large amount of cash and ammunition, Baxter said.
As officers tried to contact the other two people in the vehicle, "deadly physical force was used, resulting in the death of one of the subjects," Baxter said in the news release. "A subsequent search of the deceased located an additional large quantity of methamphetamine."
A second raid took place later at the driver's home, at 1409 NE Tucson Way, Baxter said. A large amount of cash, meth and a handgun was located at that residence, the police chief said.
Dugan activated the Major Incident Response Team around 1 a.m. Friday due to the "officer involved use of deadly physical force," a Bend Police news release said. That team includes officers from all police agencies in the county and the DA's office.
"No law enforcement officers were injured," the statement added.
Large blue tarps were erected Friday morning to block any views of a home's front yard at the corner of Wichita Way and 27th Street, where roads were blocked as well. A white tent also was erected in the yard.
One neighbor, Jamie Brink, told NewsChannel 21 she awakened to hear a woman shouting and later saw an Hispanic man being taken away in handcuffs.
All Oregon counties recently were ordered to develop a protocol for investigation the use of deadly force, and the release noted that Deschutes County's recently was approved by the state attorney general.
Under that protocol, "a complete investigation into the circumstances which gave rise to the use of deadly force will be conducted," the police statement said.
Dugan told NewsChannel 21 the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave for at least 72 hours, as the protocol dictates.
He said several Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team officers went to the home to serve a search warrant in an ongoing meth possession, delivery and manufacture investigation and that several people were at the home at the time.
"Things went south" and gunfire erupted, the DA said, unable to provide more details, pending the ongoing investigation.
"At least three or four people, witnesses were taken to the Bend Police Department to be interviewed," Dugan told NewsChannel 21. "I don't know how many have been arrested or will be charged."
The DA said they were still "sorting out the facts of the use of deadly force," which he said is "the last resort any officer wants to take."
At mid-afternoon, a gold van with tinted windows pulled up to the front of the home and parked, leaving 45 minutes later. Later, a coroner's van arrived at the scene and apparently removed the victim's body.
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