Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Local News


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published Monday, January 24, 2011 at 6:34 AM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Ore. town in fear as police seek shooting suspect

This small coastal town has virtually shut down since police announced a man suspected of shooting an officer was on the loose in its woods, sparking an intense manhunt and extra security at its two schools.

Associated Press

WALDPORT, Ore. —

This small coastal town has virtually shut down since police announced a man suspected of shooting an officer was on the loose in its woods, sparking an intense manhunt and extra security at its two schools.

Police have been searching for David Anthony Durham, 43, of Portland, in Waldport since the Sunday night shooting of Lincoln City police Officer Steven Dodds, who remained in critical condition early Tuesday, Newport police Chief Mark Miranda said.

Dodds, who was officer of the year in 2010 in Lincoln City, was shot multiple times shortly after he stopped Durham's 1984 Dodge truck about 40 miles north of Waldport. The scene was captured on a patrol car video camera, but few details were released.

"We're feeling fairly reasonable that he is the suspect," Miranda said of Durham, who was being sought by 100 officers, including an Oregon State Police special weapons unit.

Police previously identified Durham as the registered owner of the truck stopped by Dodds for speeding. State police said Durham is considered armed and dangerous, and may be accompanied by his black and white dog.

The town's two schools were closed Monday during the manhunt, and the Lincoln County School District planned to have classes Tuesday but would be locked down during school hours. The district said on its website that school buses would not run north of the bridge off Waldport's peninsula, and told parents who choose not to send their children to school that it would "respect your decision either way."

The search began after the gunman was spotted and chased by police in Newport, about 14 miles north of Waldport. Shots were fired at officers, but no one was hit. After the truck was stopped by spike strips on the highway, he ran into a wooded area and shot at a crab fisherman on a boat in Alsea Bay, near the scenic Waldport Bridge, Miranda said.

The fisherman was struck by shrapnel but not seriously injured. Investigators believe the gunman mistook him for a police officer, Miranda said.

Police alerted residents near the bridge through a reverse 911 system but did not order an evacuation. The town, like many along Oregon's Pacific coast, is dotted with vacation rentals and relies heavily on summer tourism. About 2,000 residents live year-round in Waldport, which is less than 100 miles southwest of Portland.

State court records showed only minor offenses in Durham's past. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor prostitution charge in Portland in 1999 and had citations for speeding in 2000 and not wearing a helmet on a motorcycle in 1993.

A co-worker of Durham's told the Oregonian that he didn't show up for work last Friday and didn't call. Co-workers checked but failed to locate him, said Christina Cowan, a downtown manager of Willamette Print & Blueprints Co. Inc.

She noted that he had "always been a happy-go-lucky guy," but friends and family said he began acting strangely two weeks ago, when he and his girlfriend broke up.

advertising

"He had some bizarre behavior," Shauna Hendgen told the Oregonian. "He thought people were out to get him."

Her 17-year-old daughter, Hannah, told the newspaper that Durham was deeply upset by the end of his relationship. She added that Durham thought the police and the FBI were out to get him.

A longtime friend, Nancy Meyer, told KGW-TV in Portland that he spoke "about talking to an alien who's been telling him what to do. He's convinced the police are going to come and get him. He's packed his bags and he's ready to go in case Armageddon happens."

---

AP writer William McCall also contributed to the story from Portland, Ore.

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

More Local News

UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case

NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview mill spills bleach into Columbia River

NEW - 8:00 AM
More extensive TSA searches in Sea-Tac Airport rattle some travelers

More Local News headlines...

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.

Video

Advertising

Marketplace

Advertising