Witnesses: Stabbing suspect had chance to give up

AP News
|
Posted: Dec 30, 2014 4:34 PM

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Two witnesses told investigators that a man who had fatally stabbed an Oregon college student in an unprovoked and unexplained attack had a chance to surrender to officers but moved toward them.

The accounts came in reports assembled by a team of investigators looking into the Nov. 15 killing of student-athlete Parker Moore and the subsequent death of Juventino Bermudez-Arenas, the Yamhill Valley News-Register (http://bit.ly/1thVI3o) reported.

Bermudez stabbed Moore at a convenience store across the street from the main entrance to Linfield College and was himself killed by officers' gunfire after he returned to the store.

His family has said the Spanish-speaking man went home after the stabbing, told family members there was a problem and said he would return to surrender.

The officers have been cleared and returned to duty. District Attorney Brad Berry has said it's unlikely a motive will be established for Moore's death.

In the investigation reports, a clerk at the convenience store, Franklin Pruett, said he was waiting on Moore when Bermudez ran through the front door and began hitting Moore.

Pruett said he thought the two were playing until he saw Moore bleeding. Then he hit the store's panic button to summon authorities.

After officers arrived and medics tended to Moore, the clerk was outside the store being interviewed when he saw Bermudez, wielding a knife, standing near a Redbox kiosk, the reports said.

Pruett said it appeared Bermudez took a couple of steps toward the officers as though he was going to charge them, the reports said. Pruett described Bermudez with a "crazy look in his eyes, like he was ready to kill somebody."

Pruett said officers repeatedly yelled at Bermudez and gave him "plenty of opportunity" to drop the knife, but he took three fast steps toward the officers, who then fired. The police said 15 shots were fired.

The prosecutor, Berry, has said it's not known whether the language barrier played a part in the shooting. He said the officers followed their training and often don't have time to determine a suspect's language.

A customer at the convenience store, Chrystal Harmes, told the investigators that she was shopping for milk but fled in fear, returning 5 1/2 hours later to come forward.

Bermudez appeared confused or drunk and wasn't listening to the officers, Harmes said. The officers were yelling commands that included "Put your hands up" and "Get on the ground," she said.

Bermudez raised his hands, but she could not tell if he was holding a knife or anything else, Harmes said.

"He put one hand down and started walking 'zombie-like' toward the officers," she said.

___

Information from: Yamhill Valley News-Register, http://www.newsregister.com