Gunshot in street lands Medford man in jail

A Medford man who apparently had a bit too much to drink was jailed Thursday for firing a shot at a man after an argument in the street, police said.

Daniel Knight Huizar, 29, remains lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of unlawful use of a weapon, recklessly endangering another and pointing a firearm at another. Unlawful use of a weapon is a felony charge that can carry significant jail time.

Investigators said Huizar got in a heated argument with Jamel Gerald Vanhook, 20, on the night of April 5. The argument stemmed from a previous run-in between the two, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.

"They had a verbal beef with each other that had not ended in violence," Budreau said. "However, this time a round was capped off."

As the two argued on West 11th Street, Huizar pulled a .380 handgun and fired a round, Budreau said.

"We don't believe Huizar intended to hit Vanhook," Budreau said. "We think he was just trying to scare him away."

The bullet struck a nearby vacant house, Budreau said.

Vanhook fled the scene, but was later arrested after he was implicated in an armed robbery from earlier that night, Budreau said.

Investigators believe Vanhook spent his night in west Medford Friday night looking for people to rob. He carried with him a collapsible baton similar to the kind used by police.

He ended up robbing a man walking near McLoughlin Middle School, stealing the victim's backpack.

The man gave police a good description of Vanhook and officers soon located him and placed him under arrest.

Police became aware of the shooting earlier that night after Vanhook off-handedly mentioned it after his arrest.

Officers traveled back to West 11th Street and found a shell casing. They eventually made contact with Huizar, who usually carries the gun at his waist.

"We are not saying Mr. Vanhook is a model citizen, but you can't fire guns at people in the street," Budreau said. "That's not the way to solve your problems."

Vanhook remains jailed on felony robbery charges and could face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, 10 months under Oregon's Measure 11 law.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or cconrad@mailtribune.com.


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