Police say a petty dispute over a car led to shots being fired in a north Medford neighborhood Wednesday morning, drawing a swarm of police and SWAT officers to the incident that closed nearby streets for hours and ended with two arrests.
Medford police said no one was injured in the shooting, which happened in the 2600 block of Tennessee Drive. However, two stray bullets blew through an elderly couple's front window.
"This doesn't appear to be gang-related," said Lt. Mike Budreau. "It was a targeted attack."
Several witnesses reported hearing shots fired at 2:30 a.m.
"(Witnesses) heard gunshots. They saw a male running," Budreau said.
Responding police saw a car pull onto nearby De Barr Avenue.
They followed the vehicle, hoping to question its occupants about the gunshots. Before the cruiser's lights clicked on, a man bolted from the car and started running.
Police gave chase and arrested Devon Dean Poff, 21, after learning he had a felony warrant out for his arrest.
Poff also had two handguns with him.
As officers were questioning Poff, the investigation led to an address in the 200 block of DeBarr Avenue, near Seneca Street. Officers developed information suggesting William Tye Middlekauff, 25, was connected to the shooting.
Police blocked off De Barr from its intersection with Tennessee Drive down to Howard Avenue.
Two SWAT vans carrying about 16 officers arrived and surrounded the home with patrol and detectives already on scene. After about 45 minutes of trying to coax those inside the home outside, police forced their way into the home and arrested Middlekauff.
They also detained two females, who they believe are not involved in the case. All were hiding in various parts of the home. None of them were armed, police said.
Detectives spoke with both Middlekauff and Poff throughout the day and learned the incident sparked from an argument over a car.
"I'm not going to go into the specific details about this dispute because of the ongoing investigation, but it was certainly not worth shots being fired over," Budreau said.
Middlekauff and Poff are friends who got in an argument with a man who owned the car in question. Poff was seen arguing with the intended victim and allegedly fired three shots in the man's direction as he was walking away.
These shots hit the elderly neighbors' home and a nearby tree.
"It was fortunate the rounds hit the front window and not the bedroom window where the couple was sleeping," Budreau said.
Poff was charged with four counts of unlawful use of a weapon, four counts of reckless endangering and warrants from a parole violation on a past second-degree robbery charge.
Middlekauff was determined to not be directly involved in the shooting and was lodged on outstanding warrants for his arrest.
Middlekauff's warrants stemmed from second-degree theft and methamphetamine possession charges. The shooting confirmed nearby residents' concerns there had been criminal activity in their neighborhood for some time.
Rachel Orick, who often walks past the site where the shots were fired to take her child to a daycare nearby, said she's been worried for her child's safety because of what seemed like questionable activities at the De Barr house.
"There's so much traffic there all the time," Orick said. "I knew something bad was going on there. I hate that it has to escalate to this point."
Amber Stellpflue, whose parents live in the neighborhood, shared Orick's concern.
"I think this neighborhood's been really bad for quite some time," she said.
Janie Duman said that while Wednesday's incident frightened her, she believes safety in the neighborhood has actually improved.
"It's a lot better than it used to be," said Duman, who grew up there.
Logistically, the scene presented a challenge for police, as several neighborhood residents were either leaving for work or walking to their school bus.
Officials had to turn several school buses away, and police escorted residents in and out of their homes. Police also called neighborhood residents via an automated emergency notification system to keep them updated on the situation. (Clarification: The name of the phone system police used has been updated to avoid trademark infringement.)
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at email@example.com.