With his girlfriend driving and five of his children in the back, a man leaned out the window of a Camaro and fired at police in an hourlong chase that ended when he was shot dead by officers.
Eric Allen Shannon, 33, of Pilot Rock, became the target of the wild chase on Interstate 84 Wednesday night after he and his girlfriend allegedly grabbed the children out of a foster home, shot and wounded the owner, and sped away.
State troopers and squad cars from five police agencies joined the pursuit and dodged fire from a semiautomatic assault rifle before finally using spike strips to blow out a tire on the car as it neared Pendleton.
After the crippled car rolled into a BP gas station, Shannon got out and ran into the store with his rifle pointed upward.
Attendant Neil Klock quoted the man as saying “I just shot at two cops” and then threatened to shoot the attendant.
The girlfriend then entered with four of the children while one child remained in the car. The three girls and two boys ranged in age from 2 to 11.
With police closing in, the man started ranting.
“He was shouting something about them taking his little boy away from him,” Klock said.
State police Sgt. Mike McCullough said three officers - one Pendleton policeman and two troopers - opened fire as Shannon knelt in the partially open doorway of the service station and raised his gun. Shannon died immediately.
“She knew what was going on,” Klock said of the girlfriend. “I just grabbed her and hugged her. This seemed to be all about kids being taken away from them. My heart really went out to those kids.”
In a statement Thursday, Umatilla County District Attorney Chris Brauer said Shannon’s “unlawful and violent conduct left police without alternatives to eliminate the threat to their lives.”
The girlfriend, Robin J. Hocker, 26, was taken into custody after the shooting and charged with burglary. Other charges were likely, Brauer said.
The children were taken into protective custody and given counseling.
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