Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced Wednesday that he has officially closed his investigation on an officer involved shooting that took place in June. Hummel said he concluded that the officer’s decision to shoot Bend resident Timothy Bret Bontrager was legally justified.
The incident took place on June 26th around 11:30 p.m. when Bend Police officer Timothy Williams conducted a traffic stop on highway 97 and Cooley Road. Williams pulled over 36-year-old Bontrager for failure to use his turn signal. Bontrager pulled over into the driveway of the Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
Officer Williams approached the driver’s side of Bontrager’s vehicle. After he asked for Bontrager’s license and registration Williams suspected that Bontrager was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Williams said that Bontrager exhibited slow, deliberate speech and glassy, bloodshot eyes. Williams also noted that there were two opened 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor in Bontrager’s vehicle.
Officer Williams called for backup and Bend Police officer Kevin Uballez arrived on the scene. Williams approached the driver’s side door to ask Bontrager to perform a field sobriety test, which Bontrager refused.
Officer Williams informed officer Uballez that he would read Bontrager his ROHRS, shorthand for what a police officer can say to a suspected impaired driver who has refused an initial request to perform field sobriety tests. Williams also notified officer Uballez that if Bontrager continued to refuse to cooperate, officer Williams would arrest him.
Both officers approached the vehicle once again, Uballez on the passenger side as a cover position, while Williams began reading the ROHRS to Bontrager, stating that he was being asked to perform physical tests and his refusal to perform them could be used against him in court. Immediately after officer Williams asked Bontrager if he understood, Bontrager turned away from Williams, yelled, ‘here’s my proof of insurance!’ and reached for the glove compartment. This, Hummel said, is when the shooting began.
According to Hummel Uballez, who was standing on the passenger side of the car, saw Bontrager pull a gun from the glove box.
“Uballez yells ‘Gun! Gun!’ so Williams knows what’s happening,” said Hummel during his Wednesday press conference. “Immediately Bontrager put the gun to his head, pulled the trigger.”
Williams, thinking Bontrager was shooting at him or Uballez, fired seven shots into the car, striking Bontrager twice.
Williams then radioed that shots had been fired and both officers then checked on Bontrager, who was deceased.
Officer Williams had begun an audio recording once he realized Bontrager’s stop could become a DUI investigation. That recording, including the audio of the shooting, was played during Wednesday’s press conference.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was a perforating contact handgun shot to the head and that neither of the two rounds Williams shot into the vehicle was fatal.