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Ruch man shot wife before turning the gun on himself, Sheriff's Office says

Officers found the suspect, identified as 54-year-old David Allen Karnes, suffering from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. Karnes' wife, 54-year-old Constance Maria Murphy, was found dead from visible gunshot wounds.

Posted: Oct 20, 2021 9:38 AM
Updated: Oct 20, 2021 5:58 PM

RUCH, Ore. — The Jackson County Sheriff's Office released more information Wednesday night about a murder in the Applegate Valley that they say was a case of domestic violence.

Dispatched received a call shortly before 12:30 a.m. in the early hours of Wednesday morning reporting a gunshot victim. Deputies and Oregon State Police troopers responded to a house in the 3300-block of Little Applegate Road in the Buncom area, roughly southeast of Cantrall Buckley County Park along the Applegate River.

When the suspect did not respond to verbal commands and did not come out of the home, deputies called in the SWAT team and JCSO's Crisis Negotiators Team.

Shortly before 3 a.m., officers reported hearing a single gunshot as the SWAT team entered the home. They found the suspect, identified as 54-year-old David Allen Karnes, suffering from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. Karnes' wife, 54-year-old Constance Maria Murphy, was found dead from visible gunshot wounds.

First responders preformed lifesaving measures on Karnes and he was taken in a Mercy Flights ambulance to a local hospital where he was last listed in serious condition.

Neighbors told NewsWatch 12 that they knew the couple and they never expected something like this to happen. David Karnes, several people said, went by the name "River."

"They're great people," said Bill Chapman, who lives in the area. "River got me involved doing fires ... they have dinners every so often, we all come up as neighbors and have dinners."

The investigation is ongoing, with JCSO detectives assisted by the OSP Forensics crime lab. The Sheriff's Office indicated that any further information would come from the District Attorney's office.

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