|Eric Ronald Brazelton|
|Birth: ||Nov. 23, 1963|
|Death: ||May 3, 2003|
ERIC RONALD BRAZELTON
Nov. 23, 1963 — May 3, 2003
Former Michigan and Burns resident Eric Ronald Brazelton, 39, died May 3 at Long Creek.
He was born Nov. 23, 1963, at Royal Oak, Mich.
Arrangements are under the direction of Driskill Memorial Chapel.
(Blue Mountain Eagle, John Day, Grant, Oregon)
LONG CREEK -- A shotgun-wielding man ambushed two Grant County sheriff's deputies here Saturday night, injuring both, investigators say.
The gunman, identified as Eric Ronald Brazelton, 39, then opened fire on an ambulance before he was shot to death by a third deputy.
Grant County Deputy Jason Rehling was taken to OHSU Hospital in Portland, where he underwent surgery to the right side of his jaw and face on Sunday. Police said Rehling, 28, was shot at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun. Rehling was in critical condition Sunday evening, though his father said the deputy was expected to recover.
Deputy Richard M. Gray, 34, who was struck in the head and neck by a second shotgun blast, was released Sunday from Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day.
Brazelton apparently died of a gunshot wound to the head after being shot at three times by a Grant County deputy, who was not identified. Brazelton was armed with a large-caliber revolver and a knife in addition to his double-barreled shotgun, Oregon State Police Sgt. Randy Crutcher said.
"He had a lot of ammunition on his person when he was shot," Crutcher said. "We don't know what his political or philosophical beliefs were . . . but he certainly was prepared for this outcome."
The gun battle took place about 10:15 p.m. Saturday after deputies were summoned by a woman to a domestic disturbance. They were asked to walk through the small, single-story home and make sure it was safe for an ambulance crew to enter, Crutcher said.
He said the ambulance had been summoned to help one of two small children living in the home. Why the ambulance had been called was not clear Sunday.
After Rehling and Gray walked through the home, they went around the back of the house, Crutcher said, where Brazelton, wearing camouflage clothing, was hidden in a dark alcove.
Rehling was shot with what appears to have been a grazing blast from the shotgun, Crutcher said. Unable to return fire, the badly injured Rehling retreated toward the front of the home, collapsing several times.
Brazelton, meanwhile, went around the other side of the home, where he apparently shot Gray in the back. Gray's protective vest absorbed most of the blast, but he suffered pellet wounds to the neck and base of the skull, Crutcher said.
Brazelton then opened fire on the ambulance but did not injure anybody.
"The evidence suggests he had to reload at least one time," Crutcher said. "He hit the ambulance broadside, and some of the pellets did penetrate."
The third deputy came around the side of the house as Brazelton was firing on the ambulance and shot at him three times, striking him at least once in the head, Crutcher said.
The gun battle left many in isolated Long Creek, population about 180, stunned and shaken. Long Creek is about 25 miles north of John Day in Eastern Oregon.
"People are upset," said Sandie Drew, 58, after attending Sunday services at Long Creek Community Church. "We said prayers for the policemen and the lady and her children, and mostly we didn't talk about it because it's upsetting to everyone."
Robert Cramer, a maintenance worker for the town, said he had seen Brazelton around from time to time over the past two months. Cramer said Brazelton lived in a camp trailer behind the home where the shooting took place.
"He always wore camouflage," Cramer said. "I never saw him in anything but camouflage."
Brazelton apparently had earlier lived in Harney County and in Montana and Michigan.
"This guy has had run-ins in the past with law enforcement and made statements about his dislike for authority," said Crutcher, adding that officers "were cautious in their dealings with him."
Most of Brazelton's encounters with police appear to have involved game violations.
On Sunday afternoon, Rehling's father, Dan Rehling, said the shotgun blast shattered his son's chin and struck his nose.
"I was expecting to see a total disaster face," said the older Rehling, who has worked as an emergency medical technician.
"He looks good," he said. "I've seen a lot worse."
Rehling said doctors were telling him that his son was expected to recover.
Jason Rehling graduated from South Medford High School in 1992, then spent eight years in the U.S. Army, where he was a military policeman. After getting out of the Army in 2000, he returned to Oregon.
He is married and has a son, and his wife is pregnant, his father said.
He has been with the Grant County sheriff's office for four months.
"There's no amount of training that could have prepared someone for this, because this guy laid in wait for them," his father said. News researcher Gail Hulden and staff write Dave Hogan contributed to this report.
Created by: Pam R.
Record added: Sep 27, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59292002