BEND, Ore. - (Update: Police ID men involved; DA says self-defense could play role)
A Medford man fired several shots, seriously wounding a transient who had pulled a knife during a confrontation in the drive-thru area of Bend's Jack in the Box Monday night, police said Wednesday as they released the names and initial details of the investigation.
Detectives determined that the transient, Christopher Michael Nolan, 39, pulled a knife and confronted Robert Joseph Garris, also 39, in the drive-thru area around 9:30 p.m. Monday, Lt. Clint Burleigh said.
"The confrontation was unprovoked, and the two (men) did not know each other," Burleigh added.
During the confrontation, Garris pulled out a handgun and shot Nolan several times, the officer said, adding that "Garris was possessing and carrying his firearm legally."
Bend Fire medics rushed Nolan to St. Charles Bend with life-threatening injuries, Burleigh said. Police Chief Jim Porter later confirmed that he is expected to recover.
"Garris has and continues to cooperate with law enforcement in this investigation," Burleigh said. He added that police reports on the incident will be reviewed by the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office.
DA John Hummel told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday that the cooperation with police by Garris "has nothing to do with" any charging decision.
"No charges yet because we're still investigating and haven't determined if a crime was committed," the district attorney said, adding that "self-defense is one of the issues we are investigating."
Nearly three years ago, in June 2015, Bend police and Nolan engaged in a tense confrontation at a northeast Bend park. Police said officers had stopped a car that left a domestic dispute in the area, and police learned Nolan, a passenger in the car, had violated his probation conditions.
Police said Nolan, standing beside the car, reached in the passenger's side and retrieved a large knife, which he refused to drop, instead cutting himself and challenging officers to kill him as he fled into the park. He also allegedly threatened to kill officers, police said. Eventually, two officers were able to deploy Tasers and take Nolan into custody.
Officers and fire medics responded around 9:40 p.m. to the shooting at the fast-food restaurant at 805 Northeast Third Street, Sgt. Devin Lewis said. They arrived to find Nolan with several gunshot wounds and Garris still on scene and armed with a handgun, he said.
The investigation continued through the night, with help from Bend police detectives, the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office and the Oregon State Police Crime Lab, Lewis said.
“All subjects involved in this incident have been contacted and identified,” Lewis said in a news release. “There is no threat to the public regarding this incident.”
Police also asked any witnesses or people with information who have not yet been contacted to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.
Lt. Clint Burleigh said Tuesday that several organizations worked together at the scene Monday night.
"So last night we have the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office who came out on scene, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab came out to help us process the scene. These cases tend to take a little time to figure out exactly what happened. We're asking for witnesses, for anyone who saw what happened to get a hold of us. Even though it's 9:30 at night, it's a busy time, especially in that area," Burleigh said.
The manager of Jack in the Box said police took the security footage. NewsChannel 21 reached out to District Attorney John Hummel who said it won't be public until the case review is fully complete.
One nearby resident said on NewsChannel 21's Facebook page she believed she had heard eight gunshots; others said the gunfire might have echoed and sounded like more shots than were actually fired.
Bystanders gathered as police used crime scene tape to secure the area and brought in portable floodlights for investigative work.
We'll have updates as more information is released.