BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney has ruled that an officer involved shooting that occurred last month during a traffic stop near the Bend Lowe’s, was justified. D.A. John Hummel says the Medical Examiner determined Timothy Bontrager died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, But, the D.A.'s office still had to investigate whether it was appropriate for Officer Timothy Williams to use deadly force.
Hummel says Williams believed Bontrager was driving under the influence and called for back-up. Williams repeatedly asked the suspect to submit to a field sobriety test and present proof of insurance, while Officer Kevin Uballez observed. Then, Hummel says, Bontrager lunged for his glove compartment, "Uballez is standing in that cover position, looking through the window. He sees the hands; where do the hands go? Right to that glove box and a gun comes out. He grabs the gun, ‘here’s my proof of insurance.’ Uballez yells, ‘gun!’ Immediately Bontrager put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger." Hummel says Williams returned fire, thinking the man was shooting at police, "Williams, who was backing up, didn’t see the hands, hears, ‘Gun! [bam],’ sees the muzzle. He thinks Bontrager is shooting at him or Uballez. He returns fire, ‘bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.’ Seven shots into the car; struck Bontrager twice." The Medical Examiner found that Bontrager was dead before he was struck by the officer's bullets, and reports that Williams' shots would not have been fatal.
The full exchange was captured in a police audio recording. Click HERE
to listen to the full recording. A warning for sensitive listeners: it could be difficult to hear.
Both officers were placed on leave after the June 26 incident. Bend Police Chief Jim Porter says Officer Uballez is already back at work and Williams is expected to return this week.
Hummel says there is no way to know why Bontrager took his own life, or why, after a relatively polite exchange with police, he suddenly grabbed a gun. However, he says the man admitted to Officer Williams he was sleeping in his car and others report Bontrager had strained relationships with several family members.
Photo: At an August first press conference, D.A. John Hummel points out drone footage of the scene, taken just after the June 26th shooting.