MCMINVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Investigators may never know why a 33-year-old man rushed into a McMinnville convenience store last weekend and fatally stabbed a Linfield College athlete, the top prosecutor in Yamhill County said.
Toxicology reports are being expedited, and officers are still examining surveillance tapes for clues in the deaths of Parker Moore, District Attorney Brad Berry told KGW-TV (http://bit.ly/1AeL0C5) in an interview Tuesday.
But he said the stabbing could remain a mystery.
"I'm not sure that we will ever have an explanation of how Parker Moore became the target of this stabbing and was killed. Why him? Why there? Why then?" Berry said. "I don't know that we will ever be able to answer those questions in a way that is at all satisfying."
Officers shot and killed the attacker, Joventino Arenas, 33, when he returned to the parking lot of the convenience store Saturday night.
His Spanish-speaking family members told KGW through a translator that Arenas was trying to surrender himself and the weapon. They said he came home from the store, told relatives there was a "problema," and he was going back to turn himself in to authorities.
Officers haven't said whether Arenas spoke before he was shot, or, if he did, in what language.
"They were talking in the parking lot to a witness, and he pointed and said, 'There, he is right there!' " Yamhill County sheriff's Capt. Tim Svenson said. "The officers commanded him to show his hands, and he presented a knife, and that's what resulted in him being shot."
Berry said many McMinnville officers speak Spanish, but he did not comment specifically on whether the officers involved in the shooting were bilingual. Three officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such cases.
"Somebody walking up to an officer doesn't communicate by standing there what language they speak. And officers in a very sudden and dangerous situation are going to respond how they are trained to respond. Their ability to discern the language of the person they are looking at, by looks, is impossible," he said.
The deaths have taken aback McMinnville, the major city in Oregon's Willamette Valley wine country and known for a leafy downtown and the college, a private school with about 2,300 students in liberal arts and nursing programs.
The school is more than 150 years old, with a religious background. Its website says Linfield "maintains its American Baptist heritage, although faculty, students and staff are not bound by religious requirements."
Moore was a 20-year-old linebacker on the school's NCAA Division III football team from Woodinville, Washington.
Arenas' family said he worked at vineyards and a Christmas tree farm.
"This case is tragic not just on the Moore family end of it, it's certainly tragic on their (Arenas') family also," Berry said. "There's another loss of life here. I can assure you this investigation is being done methodically and completely."
Information from: KGW-TV, http://www.kgw.com/