As the sun rose over Waldport, Ore., today police descended on the woods surrounding the sleepy hamlet for a third day, conducting a manhunt for a suspect accused of critically wounding a police officer and shooting a fisherman while making his getaway.
People in the coastal village of Waldport are on alert, warned by police that the suspected shooter, identified as David Durham, may take shelter in unlocked homes. Roads have been blocked and all cars leaving the town are checked.
"We've restricted the area to residents only… checking cars as they come out because we don't want him to sneak out in someone's car," Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda told a news conference today.
Schools have been put on lockdown and more than 100 officers and a SWAT team from the Oregon State Police are conducting a dragnet for Durham.
Durham was last seen with his blue Australian sheep dog Huckleberry, and may still be with the dog, Miranda said.
"We still have a SWAT team in the area. We're still doing house-to-house searches and responding to suspicious person calls," the chief said.
Cops have pursued Durham, 43, since Sunday night when he allegedly shot Lincoln City police Officer Steven Dodds.
Dodds was shot multiple times after stopping Durham's 1984 Dodge truck on Sunday. The shooting was captured by a video camera mounted on the dash of the policeman's patrol car. Dodds is in critical condition in a Portland hospital.
A car chase ensued and Durham's vehicle was disabled by spike strips. When the truck rolled to a halt, Durham jumped out and ran into the woods, police said.
During his escape, Durham allegedly shot a crab fisherman in Alsea Bay. Authorities believe Durham mistook the fisherman for a police officer. The fisherman was struck by shrapnel, but not seriously injured.
News that a gunman may be lurking in the area has rattled the little town, that only has about 200 year-round residents.
"It's kind of freaky, you know," Cheryl Paben told ABC affiliate KATU-TV.
Waldport Schools on Lockdown
She said she was shocked by the armored vehicles and police presence all over town and worried that Durham could be hiding anywhere.
"I mean I got my binoculars out, and I was looking around the neighborhood. You look at all the bushes and you wonder if someone is underneath them. I have a kayak and I tipped it over to make sure no one was under it."
"We're asking residents in the area to be vigilant, look around their own residence. If something seems out of place, if there's a boat or a car missing, call us," the chief said.
Villagers were alerted by the town's reverse 911 system which delivers emergency information by telephone.
The town closed its two schools on Monday. Classes are being held today, but the buildings are on lockdown and parents had the option of not sending their children to school.
Many of the houses in Waldport are vacant vacation homes and cops warned that Durham may be hiding out in an empty home.
Police are "primarily looking for houses that are left unlocked to actually get access, but then they are going around the houses checking windows to see if any windows have been pried, to see if any doors have been kicked in, maybe some glass has been broken," said Miranda.
"They are also looking for footprints or anything else, clothing articles or maybe something else that the suspect had dropped," he said.
Durham has a modest criminal past, with no previous record of violent crime. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor prostitution charge in Portland in 1999 and had citations for speeding in 2000 and not wearing a helmet on a motorcycle in 1993, according to court documents.
One of Durham's co-workers told the Oregonian that he didn't show up for work last Friday and didn't call. Co-workers checked but failed to locate him, said Christina Cowan, a manager of Willamette Print & Blueprints Co. Inc. Cowan called him "a happy-go-lucky guy," but said he began acting strangely two weeks ago, after breaking up with a girlfriend.