Grand jury: Prineville man justified in fatal shooting

Was defending against man who broke out window

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A Crook County grand jury has determined that a Prineville man was justified in fatally shooting an angry acquaintance who demanded to come into his home and thew a patio chair through his front window last October, District Attorney Wade Whiting announced Tuesday.

After weeks of witness testimony and reviewing the evidence, "the grand jury determined that Larry Hoevet was justified in using deadly force to protect himself in his own home," Whiting said in a news release.

In announcing the grand jury's decision last Friday not to press charges against  Hoevet, 40, in the fatal Oct. 22, 2017 shooting of Kenneth McBeth, 56, Whiting offered condolences to the McBeth family and urged residents that despite the outcome in this case, “please make every effort to call the police and request assistance before taking matters into your own hands.”

Here's the full news release issued by Whiting:

On October 22, 2017, at approximately 3:47 pm, the Prineville Police Department assisted by multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the residential area of the 900 block of NW 2nd Street in Prineville for reports of multiple shots fired. When officers arrived moments later, they found Kenneth McBeth (56 ) of Prineville, in critical condition with several concerned citizens attempting to render aid to McBeth. Despite the efforts of emergency medical personnel on scene, McBeth was pronounced dead a short time later. The medical examiner found the cause of death to be chest trauma resulting from a single gunshot wound. 

The Prineville Police Department and Crook County Sheriff’s Office was able to safely secure the scene by detaining the shooter, Larry Hoevet (40) of Prineville, within minutes of the incident. Hoevet had called 911 immediately after the shooting and remained on the line with dispatch as the police arrived. Hoevet was cooperative, turned himself in without incident and was transported to the police department for further questioning. 

With the assistance of the Central Oregon Major Crimes Team, the scene was quickly secured with evidence collected and processed. Detectives from numerous agencies canvassed the area to interview eye witnesses and gather evidence. The Oregon State Police Forensic Services Division sent several forensic scientists to examine and collect evidence. At the conclusion of the investigation, the case was presented to a grand jury over the course of several weeks.  After hearing witness testimony and reviewing evidence presented, the grand jury determined that Larry Hoevet was justified in using deadly force to protect himself in his own home. 

According to neighbor and other eye witness accounts, McBeth came to Hoevet’s home uninvited and unannounced. McBeth and Hoevet were longtime acquaintances with a recent past history of physical aggression. McBeth began knocking on Hoevet’s front door demanding the return of personal property.  When Hoevet refused to open the front door, an angry exchange of words between the two followed. This heated exchange went on for several minutes. 

McBeth then gave a final ultimatum to open the front door or he was coming in anyway. McBeth then counted to three, picked up a nearby patio chair and threw it through Hoevet’s front window.  The patio chair and shattered glass landed on the living room floor.  During an interview at the police station, Hoevet reported he was in fear for his life as he believed McBeth was attempting to enter into his home through the broken front window. Hoevet then described firing two shots in the direction of the broken window, striking McBeth in the left chest with one of the bullets. McBeth was able to retreat from the house to a nearby parking lot before collapsing where several citizens came to his immediate aid.  

"Under Oregon law, a person has an absolute right to feel safe and secure in their own home. A person can be justified in using deadly physical force if another person is committing or attempting to commit a burglary in their dwelling or if another person is committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threated imminent use of physical force. In this instance, the grand jury has determined that Hoevet was justified in using deadly physical force under the circumstances he encountered and it was reasonable for him to believe his life was endangered at the time he discharged the firearm from his own home.

"The Crook County District Attorney’s Office would like to remind the public the purpose of our local police force is to preserve the peace and ensure public safety for all. Our dedicated law enforcement officers are well trained in de-escalation tactics and have the ability to diffuse difficult situations in a safe manner.  When possible, please make every effort to call the police and request assistance before taking matters into your own hands. A quick phone call and response by an officer can quickly resolve a situation before matters escalate out of control.  

"The Crook County District Attorney’s Office would also like to send our condolences to the McBeth family. In time spent with the family, it is abundantly clear that Kenneth McBeth was a dearly beloved family member who will be greatly missed.  The McBeth family has been very gracious and understanding as we have worked through this lengthy investigative and legal process. The support and patience of the McBeth family has been greatly appreciated. 


Wade L. Whiting

Crook County District Attorney"

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