A man who witnesses say was armed with a rifle at the Jefferson County Fair in Madras Friday and fled into town before being shot by law enforcement is charged with multiple counts including attempted aggravated murder. He’s also reportedly been on the run from justice in California.
Rafael Gomez, 29 is booked at the Jefferson County Jail. The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office says he is charged with:
- Attempted Aggravated Murder
- Unlawful Use of a Weapon
- Felon in Possession of a Firearm
- Theft in the First Degree
The charges will go to a grand jury later this week, the DA’s Office said.
Because the arrest involved police use of force, the DA’s Office said it would not provide more information until that investigation is complete.
The Madras Pioneer reports Gomez was considered a fugitive on July 13 due to a parole violation in San Diego County for taking a vehicle without the owner’s permission.
Gomez has also been convicted in Oregon of theft, giving false information to police and criminal trespass, the Pioneer reported.
The incident started just before 5:00 p.m. Friday. In a post on the sheriff’s office Facebook page, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office said it received reports of a person armed with a long rifle at the fairgrounds.
One of the people to first spot the suspect was Dan Comingore of Madras.
“Close down toward that pickup, he kind of looked around, looked inside it,” said Comingore. “Pulled out what I thought was an AR-15. There was a magazine there. He put the magazine in and he wheeled the AR-15 around. Pointed it back at myself and some others.”
Comingore said he ran to his truck and grabbed his own handgun. Three more people, all armed, joined him.
As the fair continued, the suspect made his way down the highway. Employees at the Towne Pump gas station say he came toward them from the fairgrounds.
The DA’s office said the man tried to enter a local business nearby while still armed. He was ultimately shot by police.
Because this is a shooting involving police, the DA’s office said will be an outside investigation conducted by the Tri-County Major Incident Team. That’s comprised of members of several Central Oregon police agencies.