A man who accidentally shot himself and a friend while eating at the Madras Truck Stop avoided incarceration.
At a hearing recently in Jefferson County Circuit Court, Jeremiah Thomas “Jerry” Devore of Bend was sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to one count of fourth-degree assault.
He’ll have a 90-day jail sentence hanging over his head if he violates probation.
“I think it’s a fair outcome,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Steve Leriche.
“He’s 19 years old with no criminal record. But he made a lot of bad decisions that day.”
Around 8:57 a.m., June 6, officers were called to a report of shots fired during the breakfast rush at the Madras Truck Stop on U.S. Highway 97 south of downtown Madras. The caller gave police the indication of “chaos” at the truck stop and possibly an active shooter, wrote Sgt. Steve Webb in a police report.
Officers arrived to find a 19-year-old woman, Niya Bagley, bleeding from her leg. They were told a man with a gun had left the truck stop, according to police reports provided to The Bulletin.
A group of four young adults told police they’d been seated in a booth eating breakfast with a friend of Bagley’s later identified as Devore.
Surveillance footage from the restaurant captured the incident. It showed Devore seated on one end of a booth, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants, periodically taking his hands out of his sweatshirt pocket and handling his phone in his pants pocket.
“As I observed Devore, he appeared lethargic compared to the others at the table and did not seem to be involved in much of the conversation,” wrote Webb. “He would mess with the phone and then place it back in his pocket. On one of these occasions I watched as he jumped and got up from the table. I am able to see blood dripping on the floor as he walks to the register and then leaves view.”
Witnesses described hearing a loud pop.
“We all saw his face drop,” witness Madison Pattenaude, 18, told police. “And then all of a sudden, he just walked out, and then Naya was like, ‘Maddy, I got hit.’”
Bagley was transported by ambulance to St. Charles Madras. Devore ran several blocks and called his older brother, Timothy, who lived nearby. In tears, he told Timothy his finger had been “blew to crap” and he needed a ride to a hospital, according to Madras Police.
Later, officers interviewed Devore in a trauma room at St. Charles Madras and noted several signs of alcohol intoxication, including bloodshot and glassy eyes and the odor of alcohol. He told police he’d consumed “a beer,” earlier that morning.
Devore said he’d recently purchased the handgun from a friend for $350 after someone had threatened his life.
On Aug. 17, Leriche charged Devore with fourth-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm for illegally carrying a concealed handgun.
At a plea and sentencing hearing Oct. 28, Devore pleaded guilty to assault. In exchange, the weapons charge was dropped from his indictment.
Leriche noted several recent homicide cases in his district involving gun violence, intoxicated young people and the unlawful handling of a firearm. They include brothers Jakobi and Josiah Washington, who stand accused of murder in the death of Jonathan Bonfield. Honorio Huerta-Vasquez, 25, is accused of criminally negligent homicide in the death of Edgar Morales. The case of Jenna Rae Campbell recently concluded with her heading to prison for five years for causing the death of Doretta “Dee Dee” Smith.
“I think we have to send a message that if you’re going to be a firearm owner, you need to do it in a lawful, safe manner,” Leriche said, “because it seems like too many people who should not have firearms are running around with them in Jefferson County.”