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Two fire warning shots in S. County dispute; suspect accused of punching K-9

Deschutes County Jail
Jonathan Floyd Taft

Around 10 warning shots fired by alleged victim, neighbor

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Reports of about 10 shots fired during a domestic dispute brought numerous police to a neighborhood north of La Pine Thursday night and led to the arrest of a La Pine man who allegedly challenged deputies and punched a Deschutes County sheriff’s K-9 several times. Deputies said an alleged female victim fired warning shots in self-defense and a neighbor did the same, but no one was injured.

Deputies responded just after 9 p.m. to a reported dispute involving several shots fired in the area of Jacinto and Solar roads, just south of Spring River Road, according to a news release from Sgt. Shawn Heierman and Lt. Mike Sundberg.

Residents reported hearing gunshots after a loud argument between a man and woman, they said. Bend police and Oregon State Police troopers also were called in, along with on-duty SWAT personnel and sheriff’s office and Bend police armored vehicles due to the serious nature of the call and report of about 10 gunshots.

County 911 dispatchers received more calls after officers arrived regarding a physical and verbal dispute in the area, so police established a containment perimeter.

A suspect identified as Jonathan Floyd Taft was located in the driveway of a home in the 17300 block of Jacinto Road, determined to be the location of the initial dispute, the deputies said.

They said Taft challenged deputies and refused to follow law enforcement instructions. Deputies tried to negotiate with Taft, who Heierman and Sundberg said “continued to display combative and threatening behavior toward law enforcement.”

Deputies determined Taft was the suspect in the initial dispute, where he allegedly tried to assault a male and menaced a female. Sheriff’s patrol K-9 Ezel and partner Deputy Jeremiah Johnson were on scene, and concerns Taft might be armed and was threatening to assault law enforcement prompted deployment of Ezel, to get Taft into custody, deputies said.

Taft continued to resist arrest, punching Ezel several times, but the police dog overpowered Taft, who was taken into custody.

Deputies determined the dispute began when Taft trespassed in order to retrieve his property, attempting to assault a man and woman on scene.

“This resulted in the female victim using her firearm for her own protection,” deputies said, firing several warning shots to prevent the assault.

“A nearby neighbor heard the dispute and gunshots and perceived a threat to him and his family’s safety,” Heierman and Sundberg said. “Believing the assault had moved to his property, the neighbor also fired several warning shots in the air.” No injuries occurred due to the gunshots, they said.

Taft was evaluated by La Pine Fire medics and later taken to St. Charles Bend for minor injuries sustained from the K-9 before being booked into the county jail on charges of second-degree criminal trespass, second-degree disorderly conduct, menacing, resisting arrest, assault on a law enforcement animal and fourth-degree attempted assault. He was held on initial bail of $32,500.

Court records show the district attorney's office filed initial charges earlier Thursday against Taft of resisting arrest and second-degree criminal trespass, alleging he illegally was at a property on Beaver Drive in Sunriver on May 14 and resisted arrest by a Sunriver police officer.

They also show several misdemeanor charges and alleged violations over the past two months, including third-degree theft, disorderly conduct, interfering with a police officer and criminal trespass, as well as driving without a license or insurance and refusing to take a breath test for DUII.

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Barney Lerten

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