BEND, Ore. - Two 15-year-old Bend boys have been arrested on attempted murder and other charges, accused of shooting and critically wounding a 16-year-old boy during a robbery of marijuana Saturday evening at an apartment near the Central Oregon Community College campus, police said Sunday.
The crime led COCC to use its campus-wide (and beyond) Emergency Notification System to text about 7,000 recipients late Saturday night that a shooting had taken place “near the campus” and for people to stay away from the campus, if possible, and “stay safe” otherwise. It said two suspects had fled “in an unknown direction.”
A subsequent text sent Sunday morning told the same recipients two people were in custody and the campus was resuming normal operations.
Shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday, Bend police were notified by Deschutes County 911 dispatchers of a possible shooting, Lt. Clint Burleigh said.
Police and fire paramedics rushed to an apartment at the Awbrey Pines Apartments, 2500 NW Regency Street, on the report of a 16-year-old Bend boy who had suffered a gunshot wound, Burleigh said. The teen was taken to St. Charles Bend with life-threatening injuries.
An initial investigation determined the shooting victim was at a 19-year-old man’s apartment when two 15-year-old boys, known to the victims, stole marijuana, the lieutenant said. During the robbery, they shot the 16-year-old victim, also from Bend, then fled in a vehicle.
Bend police activated the Central Oregon Major Crimes Team and worked on the investigation throughout the night, in cooperation with the district attorney’s office.
Burleigh said in a news release that Bend police “learned early on that this was an isolated incident and determined there was no direct threat to the immediate area of the incident.”
Police located the two 15-year-olds and recovered a gun and other stolen items, Burleigh said.
The teens were held at the county Juvenile Department on charges of attempted murder and first-degree assault, burglary and robbery, as well as unlawful use of a weapon.
Due to the nature of the incident and the ongoing investigation, other details were being withheld.
Police investigators asked anyone with information in the incident to contact Deschutes County dispatch at 541-693-6911.
Major Crime Team members from the Bend, Redmond and Prineville police departments, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and the OSP Crime Lab assisted in the investigation.
COCC issued an alert to students, staff and the public late Saturday night that there had been a shooting near the Bend campus and that two suspects fled in an unknown direction.
"There has been a shooting near the COCC Bend campus. Please stay away from the campus," said the emergency alert, issued around 11:20 p.m. "If you are on campus, please remain inside."
"Two suspects left the scene in an unknown direction. If you see anything suspicious, please call 911,"
Worried recipients of the alert flooded Deschutes County 911 dispatchers with calls seeking more information, as well as NewsChannel 21's Facebook page and messages.
Around 9:15 a.m. Sunday, the college sent a follow-up alert, stating, "Suspects in last night's shooting near COCC Bend campus are in custody. Police have stated there is no threat to the area and regular College operations have resumed."
Ron Paradis, COCC's director of college relations, said the school's Emergency Notification System has about 7,000 people are signed up for the alerts -- all faculty, staff and current students automatically. The public can also opt-in to the system.
Paradis said that unlike geographically targeted emergency-alert systems used by law enforcement, the college's alerts go to all who have signed up for them.
"A week ago, with nobody in the residence hall, we could have argued that we wouldn't have had to" send an alert, Paradis said. "But people have moved back in from winter break," and about 50 students are back in the dorms.
The Jeanne Clery Act, a federal consumer protection law on campus crime policies, requires that when a crime covered by the act occurs, campus officials are required to evaluate if there is a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community to determine if a warning needs to be issued.
Under the law, Paradis said, the school must issue an alert if there's been a crime or threat on or near the campus.. Paradis said police had reported the suspects were not in custody at the time the alert was sent.
NewsChannel 21's Jacob Larsen will be following up on this story today and have a report on our newscast, which airs on KFXO at 6 p.m. due to the Golden Globe Awards program on KTVZ.