Two Bend Police officers shot a Bend woman earlier this month after she put her car in reverse, “slammed on the gas and quickly accelerated toward one of the officers and his K-9,” according to a statement Tuesday from Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel.
Danielle Nichole Bower, 29, was seriously injured in the shooting, which happened March 9th after a pursuit and traffic stop that started at St. Charles in Bend and ended near Brothers.
Details about what led to the shooting remain one of the pieces of the puzzle Hummel and the public have been trying to piece together since the incident.
“The details of how Ms. Bower was shot, and why she was covered with blood at the start of this incident, are still under investigation and will not be released now,” Hummel said. “The investigation is expected to be concluded by the end of March.”
All three officers involved, Sgt. Thomas Russell and officers Tim Williams and Victor Umnitz, have been placed on administrative leave.
“Know that the compassion I feel for Danielle and the involved officers is real and that my decision will not be influenced by these feelings,” he said. “I will base my decision on the facts and the law. And when I complete my investigation I’ll announce to the public my legal conclusion and the factual basis for it.”
The incident started around 3 a.m. March 9th when an officer at St. Charles on an unrelated incident was flagged down by hospital security to help with a woman in front of the ER who was acting erratically and had blood on her, Bend Police Lt. Juli McConkey said.
As officers tried to contact the woman, later identified as Bower, she drove her white Dodge Caravan over curbs, across landscaping and through grass to elude officers, McConkey said. Officers then chased Bower through Bend, east on to Highway 20 towards Brothers.
McConkey said Bower’s van left the road and came to a stop a couple miles west of Brothers.
As officers walked toward Bower’s van, she put it in reverse, slammed on the gas and accelerated toward one of the officers and his K-9, Hummel said.
“The officers state that they shot Ms. Bower to protect their colleague and his dog from being struck and potentially killed by Ms. Bower’s car,” Hummel said.
After the shooting, officers immediately provided medical assistance to Bower, Hummel said. They radioed for Air Life, but it was grounded due to weather. The officers then put Bower in a patrol car and drove her to St. Charles where they were met about halfway by an ambulance that took her the rest of the way.
Hummel said Bower is alive and recovering.
Bower is employed at Five Talent in Bend serving as Manager of Partnerships responsible for all the technology partners that work with the software and web developer.
Russell is assigned to the patrol division and a 13-year-veteran with Bend Police; Williams is in the patrol division and a 3-year-veteran of the department while Umniz is a 15-year-veteran with the department, currently assigned as a Police K-9 handler. All three are veterans and have numerous law enforcement commendations.