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Madras standoff ends peacefully, man arrested


A 45-year-old man refused police commands to come out of his downtown Madras apartment after officers responded to a report of a gunshot Thursday afternoon, prompting a more than hour-long standoff, street closures, evacuations of some neighbors and the call-out of Central Oregon’s SWAT Team, police said.

Eventually, Jonathan Ross Blankenship did emerge, surrendered and was arrested, but a search found no gun inside, Detective Sergeant Steve Webb said.

Madras police, Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies and Oregon State Police troopers responded around 1:10 p.m. to the 100 block of Southwest Third Street on a report of a gunshot fired inside one of the seven apartments located there, Webb said.

Officers were able to determine Blankenship was the suspect and which unit he resided in, the detective said.

When officers arrived, Blankenship was outside of his apartment, appeared to be talking to himself and was visibly agitated, hitting the walls, Webb said. When police tried to contact Blankenship, he turned and went into his apartment, then closed the door and refused to comply with commands to come out peacefully.

Due to the reported use of a gun and possible danger, the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team was activated, Webb said.

Police Chief Tanner Stanfill said some apartments near his were evacuated and the area around the apartment complex was secured and streets closed, with help from police and ODOT.

Meanwhile, an OSP senior trooper kept trying to communicate with Blankenship, using his in-car PA system.

Around 2:40 p.m., as the CERT Team and other police were staging in the area, Blankenship came out of his apartment, complied with police commands and was taken into custody, Webb said, adding that no one was injured in the incident.

A search warrant was executed at the apartment, but a search turned up no evidence of a firearm, Webb said.

Because of his actions that led to the police response, Blankenship was taken into custody and booked into the Jefferson County Jail on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call Madras police Sgt. Mel Brown at 541-475-2424.

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