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EPD Responds to Armed Subject

EUGENE, Ore. — A 911 call Wednesday caused the lock down of two Eugene schools and prompted a response from more than 20 police units in south Eugene.

Bertelsen Road was blocked off at the corner of 18th Street to the intersection of Bailey Hill Road. More than a dozen officers, fire trucks, an armored vehicle and even a crisis negotiator arrived on-scene for what they thought was a suspicious gunman.

“Could have been a multitude of things, but my biggest concern was that it was a 22 rifle,” said a resident in the area.

It wasn’t just the look of the gun that caused a south Eugene couple to call police.

“Pointing it up towards trees, pointing a weapon towards my house, which is nerve-racking. I know what’s right and what’s not, and I don’t believe he was using proper firearm safety when I have a house full of children,” the resident said.

“The reports from neighbors were that he appeared to be armed with a rifle, that it appeared to have a silencer on it, and that he was wandering around kind of pointing it in different yards,” said Eugene Police Sgt. David Natt.

When officers arrived, they say they were able to see the suspect but couldn’t tell what kind of gun the man had, just that his behavior concerned even them.

“He was still behaving in such a manner that caused us enough alarm to send in the armored vehicle. We can’t tell from that distance what type of firearm it is,” Sgt. Natt said.

Police eventually got the man outside and determined the gun was not a rifle, but a pellet gun.

“I mean I’m glad that it turned out to be a pellet gun, but you never know in a situation like this,” the resident said.

“It’s a very dangerous situation for everybody, for the citizens who called it in, clearly they’re concerned enough to call the officers. We’re responding to an unknown circumstance where a firearm’s alleged, particularly a rifle. So, we’ve got to get in and make sure nobody gets hurt,” Sgt. Natt said.

“Like the officer said, it’s better to have more man power and it to turn out easy, than to only have a few officers and something go bad,” the resident said.

IA pellet gun is considered a firearm in Eugene, which is one of the reasons the suspect, Alan Ryan was arrested for disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment and unlawful discharge of a firearm.

Ryan’s friends say they feel the response by police was excessive, and they wished neighbors would have asked them about the type of gun before calling authorities.

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