DCSO: K9s help arrest transient accused of opening fire near UTV tour group

China Hat weapons suspect van
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A man who allegedly pointed a gun at a group of people riding utility terrain vehicles near his camp south of Bend and opened fire Friday was arrested after being taken down by two police K9s, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) said. At least one of those shots were allegedly fired near a girl.

The sheriff’s office said it happened around 3:00 p.m. near China Hat Road. in the area of Forest Service Rd. 1810.

DCSO said deputies learned a transient, identified as Nathaniel G. Bennett, 34, confronted the tour group that was riding UTVs.

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Deputies learned Bennett pointed a firearm at the group “and discharged the firearm in close proximity to a juvenile female,” DCSO said in a release.

The sheriff’s office said deputies were unable to safely contact Bennett, so SWAT and negotiators were called in to make contact. Negotiators communicated through the use of an armored vehicle, DCSO said, but Bennett allegedly was not cooperating with efforts to take him into custody.

DCSO said Bennett tried to go back to his van where officers believed he had weapons. K-9s Ronin and Delta captured Bennett. 

He was taken to St. Charles after the encounter, then to the Deschutes County Jail. Jail records indicate Bennett was booked on unlawful use of a weapon, fourth-degree assault, pointing a firearm at another, menacing, reckless endangerment, coercion and resisting arrest. He’s set to appear in court Monday.

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