By Yessenia Anderson & Erin Maxson
GRANTS PASS,Ore. — Josephine County Sheriff Deputies, who were given pink slips last week, are dealing with a reported kidnapping and a reported shooting.
Two friends, one 13-year-old girl and one 14-year-old girl, say they went for a walk on Lofland Lane at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. The girls told deputies when a pickup truck pulled up near the intersection with Williams Highway, the driver grabbed them through the passengers door and pulled the girls into the truck. A short time later, when the driver slowed near the 600 block of Cedar Flat Road, the girls said they jumped out.
Both girls describe the suspect as a white man, 40-45 years old, 245 pounds, with a stocky build. They add he is tan and has dark brown, neck length hair. According to the girls he was driving a small, older model red Toyota truck. One girl reported hurting her foot when they jumped from the car, but other than that they were unharmed.
Late Friday night, Three Rivers Hospital called the Sheriff’s Office to report a gun shot victim. Aharon Hook of Cave Junction says he pulled over when he ran out of gas near the entrance to Forks Park off Redwood Highway, just after midnight on Friday morning. When he returned to the car, Hook says a man was standing next to it.
After a confrontation with the suspect, Hook says he was shot in the left leg. Hook claims he initially didn’t realize he was shot so he went home and went to bed, and then had a friend take him to the hospital when he woke up. The suspect is described as a man, about 5’10″, weighing 175 pounds, and wearing a dark knit cap.
These reports come as the several agencies in Josephine County join for a Safety Awareness Day. Whether it was hanging in the air or engaging through a furry friend, the message was the same:
“They need to be taught how to take care of themselves even if the police or fire department are not around,” said local resident Monique Hatley.
It’s a message that resonates more than ever. Valorie Tintinger said Wednesday’s ballot results were an unfortunate turn of events.
“I did not vote this time, I missed the deadline to turn in my ballot, but no excuse next time, I will. I’m kind of upset about the way it went; now where’s our safety going to be?” said Tintinger.
Kathy Tobin also shares in her concerns.
“We need to have our law enforcement that’s for sure,” said Tobin.
Tobin voted ‘no’ on Election Day, a choice many made as the proposed levy threatened an increase to their tax on their properties assessed value.
“It’s hard times for everybody,” Tobin said. “It’s hard for people to vote for tax increases right now. People have a hard time feeding their families.”
Some residents said, faced with such a dilemma, they decided to keep their decision out of the ballot box.
“We did not vote, we just remained neutral on that, but it does makes you feel a little uneasy there won’t be as many officers out there,” said Tobin.
The lack of funding means 70% of personnel will be cut. This will leave only three contracted deputies, and the sheriff, for the whole county.
At Saturday’s event, Skip, the county’s K-9, represented the Sheriff’s Office.
“He seeks out different types of drugs and those drugs being marijuana, cocaine, herioin and methamphetamine,” said Deputy Robert Koneiczny.
Important departments like detectives division, and all except one non emergency dispatchers, will also disappear.
“Everybody just needs to do their part and help out and keep everybody safe,” said Tintinger.