Medford man arrested in shooting incident

A dispute between the suspect and his Coleman Creek Road neighbors erupted into gunfire Thursday
The Jackson County Sheriff's Department blocked parts of Coleman Creek Road after reports of shots fired came in at 10:15 a.m. Thursday.Julia Moore

Months of agitation between a man and his neighbors in the 6600 and 6700 blocks of Coleman Creek Road erupted in gunshots Thursday at about 10 a.m.

Jackson County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said residents of Coleman Creek Road called 911 after they had approached the home of Jon Ware, 41, of 6754 Coleman Creek Road, to return items they had borrowed from him. Ware became agitated and fired two rounds from a bolt action .17 HMR rifle in the direction of the neighbors, who were about 30 yards away, while threatening to shoot them.

Once deputies arrived, more gunshots could be heard and authorities decided to evacuate the area. The city of Talent quickly set up a hospitality area at City Hall for residents of Coleman Creek Road to gather until it was safe to return to their homes.

"At one point we had over 30 law enforcement units here," Carlson said at the scene.

Responding agencies included Talent police, Oregon State Police and the Jackson County Sheriff's SWAT team, including an armored vehicle. When most of the neighbors had been removed from the area, the Sheriff's Department drove the vehicle up to Ware's driveway where he surrendered and was taken into custody without incident.

According to Coleman Creek Road resident Michael Hodgin, problems began between Ware and the neighbors in early December, when Ware began playing music loudly for days at a time and through the night. The noise echoed throughout the rural canyon, depriving many residents of sleep, Hodgin said.

Carlson confirmed that the Sheriff's Department and other local agencies had been called to the residence several times during December and January for the noise complaints, but because the disturbance was outside city limits and there are no county noise ordinances that Ware violated, there was nothing the authorities could do.

"I hear gunshots all the time," neighbor Margaret Crowly said.

Hodgin said Ware had been firing his guns from his property frequently over the past few months.

The Sheriff's Department dispatched deputies to the property four times in December and five times in January.

Carlson said Ware had voluntarily given a rifle to the Sheriff's Department on Dec. 14, and was taken to Rogue Regional Medical Center for a mental health evaluation. That rifle is still in police custody. Court records show Ware's wife, Beverly, filed for divorce on Dec. 31.

About that time, Hodgin said, Ware's behavior became increasingly alarming and Ware made statements about harming himself.

Ware was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $35,000 bail on three counts of menacing, three counts of felony unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of recklessly endangering. Upon being taken into custody Ware stated he wasn't trying to hurt his neighbors, only scare them, according to a news release.

During a search of the area, eight to 10 shell casings were found near the front porch of his residence. The rifle Ware used in the incident is in police custody.

Reach reporter Mandy Valencia at 541-776-4486 or email avalencia@mailtribune.com.


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