All-Region male athlete of the year: Tobias Merriweather, Union
Union junior Tobias Merriweather is known for excelling as an athlete. The four-star football recruit is 6-foot-4, blazing fast and has off-the-charts athleticism.
But the 2020-21 sports season showed another of Merriweather’s elite qualities: his willingness to contribute to the team.
After another standout football season, Merriweather made last-minute decisions to join the basketball and track and field teams. He wanted to aid the Class of 2021 on the hardwood, and needed to convince some of his football teammates to improve their skills by competing in track and field, he said.
In basketball, Merriweather told Titans coach Blake Conley he would play the day before tryouts, and then helped the Titans to a league championship. In track and field — a sport he’s excelled in since he was young — he joined a week into the season. He went on to win district titles in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races.
For his efforts, he has been named The Columbian’s All-Region Male Athlete of the Year.
“I think it just showed me that my body can take a lot more than I thought it could,” Merriweather said of the hectic overlapping seasons. It was his first time playing three sports since his freshman year.
Merriweather has 17 Division I college football offers, including every school in the Pac-12, Notre Dame and Michigan. The constant attention his success on the field attracts — from peers, from coaches, from media — is stressful at times, he admits.
“It’s hard to just be one of the guys,” Merriweather said. “That’s all I want at the end of the day.”
But he’s also not content with where he’s at now. He wants to improve and goes to great lengths to do so.
He frequently competes in 7-on-7 football tournaments, trains at the Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue and does this on top of keeping up with his classes and competing in three sports, which happened to stack on top of each other this year.
“I don’t really care if people know how much I work,” Merriweather said. “But they’ll see it when I step on the field.”
The next step in Merriweather’s journey is a state title quest with the Titans’ football team in the fall. His participation in track this spring was to encourage football players who could most benefit from the track and field season.
Merriweather will also compete in basketball and track and field next year, he confirmed.
Sometime during his hectic senior year, he will commit to an elite football school.
Still, that won’t fill his hunger for greatness.
He wants to compete for a starting spot when he gets to the next level. He wants to excel. He wants to make it to the NFL.
Said Merriweather: “I don’t want to be the uncle that’s at the family reunion saying ‘I could have been this; I could have been that.’ ”All-Region male athletes of the 2020-21 school year by sport
Kaden Perry, Battle Ground
The Gonzaga-bound senior had his season cut short by injury, but the 6-foot-9 post was dominant in the games he played in, averaging 26 points a game for the Tigers.
Ethan Jud, Camas
The Papermakers went 11-0-1 and outscored opponents 69-4 this season, and much of Camas’ offensive attack went through their senior center forward.
Xavier Owens, Skyview
In six 4A/3A GSHL games, the Western Oregon-bound senior caught 24 passes for 434 yards and 10 TDs. He also returned a punt for a TD and was a standout defensive back.
Caden Vire, Skyview
The Arizona State-bound senior was dominant on the mound. The lefty went 4-0 with an 0.56 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 37.1 innings pitching, helping the Storm to a 17-0 season.
Porter Craig, Camas
After placing fifth at state at 106 pounds as a sophomore, Craig came back bigger and stronger, posting an unbeaten campaign during the truncated spring season.
TRACK AND FIELD
Tobias Merriweather, Union
The junior sprinter posted a quadruple win at the 4A/3A GSHL Invitational meet, winning the 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and the anchor of the 400-meter relay for the Titans.
Evan Jenkins, Camas
An all-state runner as a sophomore, Jenkins remained the area’s elite runner as a junior, winning the 4A Greater St. Helens League title by almost a minute in 16 minutes, 15 seconds.
Owen Huntington, Camas
The U.S. Naval Academy-bound senior posted six of his nine rounds at or below par, including both rounds in winning the 4A district championship at Tri-Mountain.
Jace Creech, Skyview
The senior won the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke at the 4A/3A GSHL Invitational at Kelso. He posted the region’s top marks in those two events as well as the 100 freestyle.
Vincent Hsu, Mountain View
The senior led the Thunder to another 3A GSHL title from the No. 1 singles spot, completing a high school career in which Mountain View went 26-0 in league play.
Kikuchi pitches solid game as Mariners drop Rays 5-1
SEATTLE — Yusei Kikuchi threw four-hit ball over seven innings, Seattle batted around during a four-run first inning and the Mariners beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 on Friday night.
Kikuchi (4-3) earned his 10th quality start in 12 appearances while sending the Rays to their fourth straight loss, matching their season high.
The Japanese left-hander struck out six and recorded 13 infield outs as he helped the Mariners to their fifth win in six games. He’s given up seven hits and one run with 12 strikeouts over 14 innings in his last two starts.
Kikuchi struggled in the first inning, allowing two hits, including Yandy Diaz’s RBI single that made it 1-0. But he retired 11 of 12 batters starting in the second inning and got out of the third inning on eight pitches and the fourth in 10.
Kendall Graveman and Drew Steckenrider each pitched an inning of relief with a strikeout apiece.
The Mariners batted around in the first against Michael Wacha (1-2), scoring four runs on six hits with RBIs from Kyle Seager, Jake Bauers, Shed Long Jr. and Luis Torrens, who added another RBI single in the third to make it 5-1.
Wacha gave up 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings, his longest stint since returning from the injured list May 23.
With a double in the third inning, Ty France extended his streak to five straight games with an extra-base hit, a team season-high. The DH/INF had three hits in the first four innings, scoring two runs.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (right elbow strain) had an encouraging meeting with a specialist in Dallas on Friday and won’t need surgery. Glasnow, who was moved to the 60-day injured list Thursday, will be shut down for four to six weeks. The hope is he might be able to return four weeks after that, perhaps for a postseason run, but manager Kevin Cash said he was not ready to predict a late return for Glasnow.
Mariners: Seattle sent RHP Justin Dunn (right shoulder soreness) to the 10-day injured list for the second time this month and moved CF Kyle Lewis (knee) to the 60-day injured list. Dunn had an MRI on Friday after pulling himself two innings into his start on Thursday, but results weren’t available. Lewis recently had surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee, and manager Scott Servais said recovery time made the move necessary.
Rays: LHP Josh Fleming (6-4, 3.20) recorded his team-record 11th win in his first 18 career appearances in his last game, a 4 2/3-innings relief appearance behind an opener.
Mariners: Rookie RHP Logan Gilbert (2-2, 4.13) goes for his third straight win.
Bland, Henley share lead in U.S. Open that is really open
SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Open prides itself on being the most open of all majors with some 9,000 players from all walks of golf having a chance to compete.
The weekend at Torrey Pines features major champions and major contenders, players who are unknown or unheralded, all of them still within reach of that U.S. Open trophy. Nine shots separated first from last.
It starts with Richard Bland, a 48-year-old from England who finally won on the European Tour last month in his 478th try. Bland had a 4-under 67 and walked off Torrey Pines with his name atop the leaderboard in only his fourth major. His first one was 23 years ago.
Russell Henley had a chance to build a two-shot lead Friday afternoon when he stood over an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth. He missed, and then watched his 2-foot par putt spin out of the cup. That gave him a 70 to join Bland 5-under 137.
They will be in the final group Saturday, with plenty of heavy hitters behind them and getting far more attention. Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (71) and Matthew Wolff (68), the U.S. Open runner-up last year at Winged Foot, were one shot behind.
Another shot back were two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (67) and Jon Rahm (70), a past winner at Torrey Pines and former world No. 1.
Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau and his buddy, Brooks Koepka, were at even par, only five shots behind. They were on the same score. They will not be in the same group.
Also at even-par 142 was Justin Thomas, who had a 68.
“Most times if I’m five back going into a Saturday, I need to probably make 12, 15-plus birdies on the weekend to hang in there,” Thomas said. “But this is a U.S. Open. It’s a little bit different.”
Henley doesn’t know much about Bland except that he pays a little attention to golf worldwide and recalled hearing about his British Masters win to end his long quest for a victory.
“I’m sure he knows nothing about me, too,” said Henley, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour who has played 26 majors without a top 10.
Bland’s victory in the British Masters made him the oldest first-time winner in European Tour history. That also was the start of a three-tournament series for the leading 10 players to get into the U.S. Open. Travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic eliminated the 36-hole qualifier in England.
This is only his fourth major — twice at Royal Birkdale in 1998 and 2017, once at Bethpage Black for the U.S. Open in 2009 — and he came in on a high note.
“A lot of guys have a lot more on the CV than I do,” Bland said. “But I’m here to compete and give it everything I’ve got.”
Oosthuizen, coming off a runner-up finish in the PGA Championship, finished with two pars in the morning to cap off a 67 to share the first-round lead with Henley. He didn’t get any lower in the second round and shot 71, but was right in the mix.
So was Wolff, a surprise only because he lost all joy playing golf after such a hot start out of Oklahoma State that he walked away from the game for two months, even missing a major at the PGA Championship. He returned to the toughest test in golf and shot 70-68, two-putting for eagle on the last hole.
“It’s awesome that I came out here and played well, but I think more importantly, I’m just getting closer to being more comfortable and being happy and enjoying it,” Wolff said. “I feel like I’ve done a very good job of enjoying it, but I’ve still got a long way to go to keep a level head. Like I said, I’ll probably be working on the same thing that I’m working on now for the rest of my career.”
Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy were headed the wrong direction. Johnson, who missed the cut in the Masters and PGA Championship, dropped to 4 over until a late rally gave him a 73 and a spot in the weekend. He was seven behind. McIlroy had to birdie two holes down the stretch for a 73. He was six behind.
The 36-hole lead at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open was 3-under 139. The course is strong as ever with enough wind, though a marine layer has kept sunshine from baking out some of the greens. Then again, the weekend awaits.
The weekend will include Phil Mickelson, whose deft scrambling kept him inside the cut line and he finished with a birdie for a 69. He was seven shots behind in his quest to complete the career Grand Slam.
Bland will be a big part of the weekend, and that’s the charm of the U.S. Open.
“I love that about the game,” defending champion Bryson DeChambeau said after a 69 left him five shots behind. “Anybody, any age group, can play this great game and compete and contend. If you’re got the skill set to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of shots, you can be up there with the young guns.”
Bland is the classic journeyman, happy to be making a living at golf for more than two decades, disappointed to have not won until he broke through last month, not nearly surprised as most everyone else that he was tied for the U.S. Open.
Ryan Crouser goes big, breaks 31-year old shot put record
EUGENE, Ore. — The record was older than he is.
When he broke it, Ryan Crouser knew it right away.
The 28-year-old who built a training pit at his home in Arkansas to stay on point during the coronavirus pandemic shattered a shot put world record Friday night that was set 2 1/2 years before he was born.
On Day 1 of U.S. Olympic Trials, he heaved the massive medal sphere 76 feet, 8 1/4 inches (23.37 meters) to put his name in the record book and punch his ticket Tokyo, where he’ll have a chance to defend his Olympic title next month.
Virtually everyone in this tightly knit group of throwers knew the record of 75-10 1/4 (23.12) held by Randy Barnes since May 20, 1990 was in jeopardy. Earlier this year, Crouser topped Barnes’ indoor record. Earlier on Friday, during qualifying, Crouser heaved 75-2 1/2 inches (22.92) to set the American Olympic trials record.
Even before the fourth of his six tries on a mild, sunshiny evening at Hayward Field had plunked into the dirt, Crouser was lifting his arms to celebrate. When it landed, far beyond where any other mark had been made, a collective gasp came from the quarter-filled stands.
About a half-minute passed while officials checked the distance. When the mark came up on the board, confirming that he had broken one of the longest-standing records in the book, he was mobbed by his competitors over near the circle.
Among those congratulating him were world champion Joe Kovacs, who finished second, and Payton Otterdahl, who earned the third spot.
Several minutes later, Crouser was proudly posing down on the field. The picture: Him standing next to the scoreboard with both thumbs raised and the words “World Record” highlighted in green on the board next to his new record.
Crouser, who was second to Kovacs at world championships in Doha in 2019, didn’t miss a day of training in 2020, even with the coronavirus pandemic shutting things down across the globe. He built a homemade shot-put ring that he constructed out of two sheets of plywood and screws from Home Depot.
The opening day of trials also featured strong first-round performances from world 800-meter champion Donavan Brazier and sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who chose orange as the hair color of the day and turned in the fastest 100-meter time (10.84 seconds). High jumper Vashti Cunningham — the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham — easily qualified for the final and discus thrower Valarie Allman set a meet record with her throw of 229- 8 (70.01) in qualifying.
In the night’s only other final, Woody Kincaid sprinted the final stretch to hold off Grant Fisher and win the 10,000 meters. Both run for the Bowerman Track Club. Kincaid finished in 27:53.62. Joe Klecker was third.
All received second billing to Crouser.
He’s hard to miss at a track meet. The 320-pounder takes down about 5,000 calories a day to keep weight on his 6-7 frame. His diet consists of two big breakfast burritos in the morning, a pound of ground beef for lunch and three of the four portions from a meal delivery service at night.
That food helped build a champion — and now, he’s a world-record holder too.
Study puts Gig Harbor in top 10 places to retire
GIG HARBOR — It’s not a surprise to the people who live there, but the city of Gig Harbor was recently named one of the top 10 places to retire in the country.
According to a recent study, Gig Harbor was named the fourth best place to retire in the country. It came in behind Cumming, Ga., Naples, Fla., and Beverly Hills, Calif.
The study, by the financial planning website SmartAsset, looked at the tax burden, number of doctors’ offices per 1,000 people and the number of retirement centers per 1,000 people.
In Gig Harbor, the tax burden is 15.3 percent, there are 11.8 doctors’ offices per 1,000 people, and 3.2 recreation centers per 1,000 people. For the 24.6 percent of the population who are seniors living in the city, these factors were identified as making the area one of the best places to live.
This isn’t the first time Gig Harbor has been recognized as a good place to retire. In 2019, the Pierce County city was named the No. 1 spot to retire in Washington in front of Sequim, Snohomish, and Olympia. In recent years, the city has seen more retirement homes show up in the area, including the $145 million community Heron’s Key, which consists of apartment and cottage-style living units.
Laura Pettitt, tourism and communications director for the city, said making Gig Harbor a good place to live is by design.
“That goes further to quality of life and what we consistently try to do as a city. We try to make reasons for it to be wonderful to live here, wonderful to retire here, and wonderful to have leisure time here,” Pettitt said. “That speaks to a lot of the infrastructure we do on making the city a walkable destination and connecting neighborhoods, specifically that’s benefited the Heron’s Key area, which is one of our larger retirement communities.”
Pettitt said those large numbers of retirement communities is part of the city’s identity.
“We do have one of the largest densities of retirement communities in the U.S., and that specifically also speaks to our quality of life,” Pettitt said. “Whether it be outdoor activities or civic events, there is always something to do in Gig Harbor, and there is a real focus on quality of life, whether it be elementary school or retirees. I think that speaks specifically to why this is a great place to retire.”
McMorris Rodgers ‘MALDEN Act’ seeks to speed disaster aid to rural communities
WASHINGTON — After a wildfire devastated the towns of Malden and Pine City last September, then-President Donald Trump withheld federal aid for months over a feud with Washington’s governor, but a bill introduced Tuesday by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers aims to ensure that never happens again.
The legislation unveiled by the Eastern Washington Republican, who represents the scorched Whitman County towns, would automatically approve requests for a major disaster declaration if a president doesn’t act within 30 days. It also would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to work more closely with state and local emergency officials and to send case workers to rural communities when some forms of aid are denied.
“People have to make decisions immediately following this kind of an emergency,” McMorris Rodgers said. “That’s why we included the provision that would require action very quickly, but also providing some guidance to the community to make sure that both in the short term and the long term, they understand what resources are available to them individually and as a community.”
The residents of Malden and Pine City were in limbo for more than four months while Trump ignored requests made by Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat who had criticized the former president, The Spokesman-Review reported in January.
On Feb. 4, two weeks after his inauguration, President Joe Biden approved Inslee’s request for aid to help local governments rebuild after fires across the state. Days later, Biden denied a separate request for individual assistance that could have helped Malden and Pine City residents rebuild their homes after FEMA determined the fire that destroyed roughly 80% of homes in the two towns “was not of such severity and magnitude to warrant the designation.”
“I think this bill helps depoliticize what should not be political,” said Scott Hokonson, who has led a local recovery group since his home in Malden was destroyed in the fire. “We were told that one thing we could do that would help heal us was to affect legislation somehow. We could maybe not help ourselves, but we could help others in the future, and so this is a huge way to do that.”
McMorris Rodgers is introducing the bill near the start of what seems likely to be another devastating fire season. As of Tuesday, more than 27,000 wildfires had burned a total of nearly 1 million acres across the country, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, while a historic drought grips the Western U.S.
Dubbed the “MALDEN Act” — for “Making Aid for Local Disasters Equal Now” — the legislation’s title leaves no doubt it was crafted in response to Trump’s refusal to send aid to Malden and Pine City, but it could help rural communities recover from disasters even in cases where a president doesn’t willfully withhold federal help.
It would amend the Stafford Act, a 1988 law that governs federal emergency response efforts, to require FEMA to coordinate with state officials to help local emergency managers set up recovery teams and prevent secondary disasters like mudslides, rockslides and flooding.
“Since we didn’t hear for so long, we had to cobble together our own response,” Hokonson said. “That hands-on experience that we’ve gained through a lot of blood, sweat and toil, that could have been given to us on day one.”
Giving the example of a FEMA framework that outlines disaster response steps, he said the local recovery team “didn’t even know about the existence of such a thing because FEMA wasn’t at the table.”
FEMA would be required to work with state emergency management agencies to provide disaster case workers when requests for individual assistance are denied.
Analysis: COVID prolonged foster care
SEATTLE — Leroy Pascubillo missed his daughter’s first step, her first word and countless other milestones. After being born addicted to heroin, she’d been placed with a foster family, and he counted the days between their visits as he tried to regain custody. But because of the pandemic, the visits dwindled and went virtual, and all he could do was watch his daughter — too young to engage via computer — try to crawl through the screen.
They’re among thousands of families nationwide whose reunifications have been snarled in the foster care system as courts delayed cases, went virtual or temporarily shut down, according to an Associated Press analysis of child welfare data from 34 states.
The decrease in children leaving foster care means families are lingering longer in a system intended to be temporary, as critical services were shuttered or limited. Vulnerable families are suffering long-term and perhaps irreversible damage, experts say, which could leave parents with weakened bonds with their children.
The AP’s analysis found at least 8,700 fewer reunifications during the early months of the pandemic compared with the March-to-December period the year before — a decrease of 16 percent. Adoptions, too, dropped — by 23 percent. Overall, at least 22,600 fewer children left foster care compared with 2019.
“Everybody needed extra help, and nobody was getting extra help,” said Shawn Powell, a Parents for Parents advocacy program coordinator in King County.
For months, King County, like many parts of the country, suspended nearly all hearings except emergency orders, which led to prioritizing child removals over family reunifications. Adoptions slowed. Services needed for reunification — psychiatric evaluations, drug testing, counseling, and public transportation to access these services — also were limited.
During the period examined in AP’s analysis, the total foster care population dropped 2 percent overall — likely a result of the significant decrease in child abuse and neglect reports, where the process to remove a child from a home typically begins.
Those in foster care are disproportionately children of color and from poor families, national data show. Those groups tend to have more contact with social service agencies that are mandated to report potential abuse and neglect, which means the pandemic has amplified not just the challenges of poor parenting but of parenting while poor.
“The systemic problems around racism and poverty in COVID and how people are treated in the child welfare system may be compounding,” said Sharon Vandivere of the group Child Trends, who noted that longer stays in foster care are inherently traumatic and make reunifications less likely.
For D.Y., a Black teenager at a Seattle-area group home, the pandemic has magnified the isolation of being in the care of child protective services. He’s been out of his mother’s custody since 2016, after a report found she physically disciplined her children. They had visits in the years following; lawyers expected his mom would regain custody in fall 2020.
But because of COVID-19 protocols and staffing shortages, already-limited privileges at the group home were scaled back. In-person visits ended. Group activities all but disappeared. Inside, D.Y. resented wearing a mask and washing his hands constantly. With each exposure scare, he and others had to quarantine.
When he resumed in-person school, he hoped officials would find it safe to see his mom again, too — but that didn’t happen for months. His sister — who was placed with relatives and whose case was further along at the pandemic’s start — was returned home to their mom last summer. D.Y. wants the same: to taste his mom’s cooking, to make eggs in his own kitchen, to sit on the couch with his family without masks.
“I still want her to baby me,” the 13-year-old said of his mother, who declined to comment for this story while the cases of D.Y. and her third child remain active. “I can tell she has high faith of when I’ll come home. I don’t know if it’s going to happen.”
The AP is not naming D.Y., instead referring to him by the initials used in his lawsuit against the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families. The lawsuit accuses the state of providing inadequate care as D.Y. was bounced through 50 placements before the pandemic, some days housing him in a motel or the agency’s office building. The state declined to comment on his case and lawsuit.
Frank Ordway, chief of staff at Washington’s child welfare agency, blamed court-system closures for the drop in reunifications and implored those that haven’t fully reopened to prioritize cases like D.Y.’s.
“When those systems aren’t working, those families and those children are left in limbo,” Ordway said.
State has win in Buckhorn mine case
SPOKANE (AP) — A federal judge has issued a summary judgment in favor of Washington against two gold mining companies over years of water pollution stemming from the Buckhorn Mountain gold mine in Okanogan County.
U.S. District Court Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson on Thursday dismissed the companies’ main defenses, writing there was no support for their claims that the state Attorney General cannot enforce all of the mine’s Clean Water Act permit.
The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson contended that Crown Resources and Kinross Gold violated the law by discharging illegal levels of pollutants into creeks in Okanogan County flowing into the Kettle River.
Now the focus shifts to how much the companies will owe for the violations. They potentially face millions of dollars in penalties for their pollution, and the judge will decide how much.
“Crown and Kinross knew even before the mine’s construction that it could release significant contamination, including arsenic and chloride, into surrounding waters, yet plowed ahead anyway,” Ferguson said. “Washington takes our water quality seriously.”
Crown Resources and its parent company, Kinross Gold, own the 50-acre underground mine located approximately 100 miles northeast of Twisp.
From 2008 to 2017, the companies extracted approximately $1.3 billion in gold from the mine. Ore extraction stopped in 2017, but contaminants continue to be released from the mine.
Crown Resources said it was disappointed by the ruling and reviewing its appeal options.
Efraimson misses cut in 1,500 meters at U.S. Olympic trials
Alexa Efraimson of Camas did not advance out of the first round of the women’s 1,500 meters on Friday at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.
The 24-year-old former standout runner at Camas High School and now competing for Pete Julian’s Nike-sponsored group, posted a time of 4 minutes, 16.70 seconds in the second of three first-round heats on the new Hayward Field track.
She was eighth out of nine runners in the heat, won by Dani Aragon in 4:13.34.
The top six placers in each heat plus the next six fastest times advanced to the semifinal round. Jenny Simpson had the fastest time of the first round with a 4:11.34.
Efraimson’s time was one place below the 24th and final qualifier’s time of 4:14.80.
Her only other 1,500 this year came at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in New York back in February. She was seventh with a time of 4:11.26.
Efraimson had shoulder surgery in 2020 while most of the athletic world was shut down due to the pandemic. She had won a bronze medal in the 1,500 at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.
At the 2015 Prefontaine Classic at old Hayward Field, Efraimson ran a personal best in the 1,500 of 4:03.39 to break the American U20 record.
Suspect sought in Ore. hit-run, shooting that leave 3 dead
COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) — Police searched Friday for a suspect believed to have killed three people in a wave of violence that included a hit-and-run crash and a shooting at a pot shop in a small Oregon city.
The first person found dead was struck by a pickup truck at an RV park in the coastal city of North Bend, about 220 miles southwest of Portland, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. A woman also was injured in the crash and taken to a hospital, where she was in critical condition, Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier said at a news conference.
A few minutes after the wreck, police received reports of gunshots at a cannabis shop, where one person was killed. Officials believe the same suspect is responsible for the shooting and the hit-and-run crash.
After the shooting, Frasier said the suspect went to a nearby sporting goods store and bought more ammunition.
Meanwhile, police had gone back to the RV park to search a trailer that was registered to the same person as the truck and found a body believed to belong to the owner of both, Frasier said. The prosecutor did not say how that victim died but that “there is no question in my mind this person died of homicidal violence.”
None of the victims has been identified, and Frasier said it was unclear what, if any, connection they had to the suspect.
Police began searching for a white 2019 Dodge 3500 pickup, which was later found on a highway north of where the killings took place. The truck had crashed and been set on fire, Frasier said.
A witness told investigators that the driver appeared to be armed with a handgun at the time of the crash and had run into the woods.