The owner of a local landscaping business and his brother were arrested Thursday night following an altercation with a former employee during which shots were fired and the victim’s truck damaged with what police describe as a wooden tool.
According to a press release from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Terrebonne resident and business owner Justin Richard Swope, 41, had been involved in a dispute with the unnamed victim for several days. The dispute, whose nature the sheriff’s office did not explain for investigative reasons, was carried out by phone and with text messages.
At about 9 p.m. Thursday, Swope drove to the victim’s campsite about 5 miles southwest of Sisters to resolve the dispute, according to the sheriff’s office. With Swope was his brother, 37-year-old Sisters resident Jonathan Paul Stark.
Rather than ending the dispute, however, the evening campsite visit led to an altercation between Swope and his former employee during which Stark damaged the victim’s truck with an unspecified wooden tool. During the fight, Swope also fired a handgun more than once, according to the sheriff’s office. No one was injured by the gunfire.
Swope and Stark then fled toward Sisters in Swope’s truck and hid the handgun on Stark’s property, according to the sheriff’s office. Shortly after 9 p.m., the victim called police to say that Swope assaulted him at his campground.
About an hour later, Swope was stopped near milepost 102 on state Highway 126, which was closed briefly. The handgun and other, unspecified weapons used during the altercation were recovered.
Swope was taken to the Deschutes County jail on charges that include assault, felon in possession of a firearm and disorderly conduct. Stark was cited for criminal mischief and released.
According to the Oregon Landscaping Contractors Board, Swope is licensed to do irrigation and backflow work. His Terrebonne-based business is JLLM LLC.