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3 family members fatally shot at Juniper Canyon home


(Update: Sheriff comments about three bodies found in home, all related; DA comments; dog found at home taken to shelter)

Three family members were found dead Thursday in an apparent shooting inside a home in the Juniper Canyon area south of Prineville, Crook County Sheriff John Gautney confirmed Friday.

“They conducted the investigation, and we’re still in the process of trying to positively identify the persons involved,” Gautney said. “All the persons involved were located in the residence and there’s no other danger to anyone in the community.

The names of the people found dead have not been released yet.

“We’ll be coming out with more details as soon as the investigation is complete and we have the identification of the people,” the sheriff told NewsChannel 21. “I mean, I can put out bits and pieces here and there, but I might as well put out one final update when we have the identification everyone needs.”

Deputies were dispatched just after noon Thursday to a report of a deceased person at home on Southeast Umatilla Loop, in the Prineville Lake Acres 2 subdivision, Gautney said earlier in a news release.

When deputies arrived, they found three people were dead in the home. It immediately was sealed off as a crime scene, the sheriff said.

The Central Oregon Major Incident Team was called for assistance, along with the Oregon State Police Crime Lab, and their work at the home continued into early Friday morning.

While Gautney’s news release did not indicate the cause of death, he referred to it as a “shooting case” in the subject line of a release emailed to the media.

“The investigation is still ongoing and not all of the next-of-kin have been notified as of the time of this release,” the sheriff wrote.

“The Crook County District Attorney (Wade Whiting) has ordered an autopsy to help with the positive identification of the deceased persons before the names can be released, which potentially may not be before early next week,” Gautney added.

“Based on the investigation, it appears there are no outstanding suspects and all parties involved were located inside the residence,” the sheriff said. “There is no danger to the public as a result of this incident.”

Gautney also confirmed to NewsChannel 21 that the three victims were related.

A dog found at the home was taken to the Humane Society of the Ochocos, officials said.

Whiting said more information will be released once the autopsies have been conducted at the State Medical Examiner’s Office near Portland, which he said should occur by Monday at the latest.

A neighbor who asked not to be identified said an acquaintance found a body in the living room and called 911.

By midday Friday, the crime tape had been removed around the home, where a pickup was parked in the driveway.

The Crook County Sheriff’s Office also was assisted by Prineville Police, Crook County Fire and Rescue, the Crook County Medical Examiner’s Office and Juniper Ridge Funeral Home.

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