Bend bank guard comes to aid of punched officer

Pulls gun to stop assault; transient arrested

BEND, Ore. - A transient blocking traffic near a downtown Bend intersection got in a fight with a police officer Wednesday afternoon, punching him several times before a bank security officer came to his aid, with gun drawn, and the man was arrested, officers said.

Officer Wes Murphy, a 4-year veteran of the force, contacted George Melvin Flack, 47, near the intersection of Northwest Brooks Street and Newport Avenue shortly after 3 p.m. for impeding traffic as he crossed Newport, said Lt. Nick Parker. Several drivers had been forced to stop and/or avoid him, he added.

Flack "was verbally confrontational with Officer Murphy and attempted to walk away during the process," Parker said. But Flack then "swung his fist at Officer Murphy's face."

"Officer Murphy attempted to avoid getting hit by moving back," Parker said, but Murphy "lost his footing and fell to his back on the ground."

At that point, Parker said, "Flack got on top of Officer Murphy and began punching him multiple times."

The officer managed to push Flack back and got back up, while security officer James Cornforth from the nearby Bank of America helped Murphy take Flack into custody. He complied without further incident, Parker said. Witnesses and police scanner reports indicated Cornforth had his weapon drawn when he confronted Flack.

Murphy was taken to St. Charles Bend for treatment of an eye injury, Parker said, adding that the officer's equipment and uniform were damaged during the assault.

Flack was taken to the Deschutes County Jail, where he was lodged on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct, assault on a public safety officer, second-degree escape, third-degree criminal mischief, resisting arrest and interfering with a police officer. Bail totaled $33,500.

Parker said Bend police "would like to formally thank G4S Secure Solutions Security Officer James Cornforth for his assistance," as well as several other citizens seen running to help the officer.

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