A man suspected of firing across Highway 20 toward the Deschutes County Jail, using a high-powered rifle, was arrested Thursday night. But not before he allegedly tried to get away from authorities by driving the wrong way on Highway 97, carrying weapons and a “tremendous amount” of ammunition.
Investigators believe the suspect wanted to force a confrontation with law enforcement.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office identified the suspect as Nicholas Ryan Preston-Cooper, 25, of Sunriver. The sheriff’s office also confirmed he is the son of a La Pine man who was arrested by Bend Police for allegedly trying to lure a 17-year-old girl.
DCSO said it started just before 9:00 p.m. Thursday when deputies were dispatched to a report of a man who fired a round in front of the jail and was waiting for law enforcement to arrive. They were not able to find anyone in the front parking lot or with subsequent searches.
The person who reported the incident was able to give deputies more information as to where to find Preston-Cooper, DCSO said. He was spotted in the Sunriver Business Park, where he reportedly lives.
DCSO said Preston-Cooper was seen loading items into his Jeep Cherokee before leaving toward Highway 97. Plain clothes detectives followed until more units arrived to assist in a traffic stop.
That’s when DCSO said Preston-Cooper realized law enforcement was trying to pull him over and he took off at high speed. The sheriff’s office said he drove north in the southbound lanes from the Sunriver exit briefly before crossing the median into the northbound lanes. He allegedly then crossed back into the southbound lanes while traveling north from Lava Butte.
DCSO said law enforcement did not follow Preston-Cooper when he was traveling the wrong way.
After turning around at the High Desert Museum, Preston-Cooper allegedly drove south on Highway 97. Law enforcement was eventually able to use spike strips and stop the Jeep at the Cottowood Road offramp in Sunriver.
Preston-Cooper was taken into custody without further incident, DCSO said.
Deputies later determined that Preston-Cooper drove the the parking lot across Highway 20 from the sheriff’s office and fired a single round from a high-powered rifle into the administrative entrance of the adult jail that came to a rest in the interior cinder block in the foyer. No sheriff’s office employee or civilian staff were present.
He then allegedly drove his Jeep into the overflow parking lot of the Sheriff’s Office and waited to be confronted by law enforcement.
After returning to the Sunriver Business Park, he allegedly loaded three firearms, a ballistic vest that did not contain ballistic plates and what as described as a “tremendous amount” of ammunition in the Jeep.
DCSO says it’s believed Preston-Cooper was seeking a confrontation with law enforcement.
The shooting came hours after Bend Police arrested John Matthew Cooper, 54, for allegedly attempting to lure a 17-year-old girl who was looking for work. DCSO later confirmed Cooper and Preston-Cooper are father and son.