A man who witnesses say was armed with a rifle at the Jefferson County Fair in Madras Friday fled from the scene and was later shot by law enforcement. That was after witnesses said the man pointed the gun at them.
The shooting and investigation shut down the highway through town for hours.
The incident started just before 5:00 p.m. 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 those people 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.
“And I holstered it, got it out and then called 911 and told them there was a man with a rifle,” said Comingore.
Then, Comingore said, three more armed people came to his aid.
“We kind of got him cornered and then he slipped through a hole in the fence and went up the road,” said Comingore.
During all this, people hid in RVs, buildings and bathrooms.
“That building over there. We were all hiding in there,” said 11-year-old Tuf Zemke. “I was just worried about my brother because he wasn’t there.”
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.
“Walked around the corner and he pointed at me, pointed at him and customer, too,” said Towne Pump employee Ken Corbin, adding that he was scared for his life.
“Traffic was just completely stopped here and I was afraid he was going just going to start plucking them off,” said employee Dean Staten.
The DA’s office said the man tried to enter a local business nearby while still armed. He was ultimately shot by police.
As of late Friday night, the DA’s office said the man was receiving medical treatment. He had not been identified.
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.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact Jefferson County Non-Emergency Dispatch at 541-475-2210.