01/28/2011

Gunman who shot Ore. cop may have left town

Cops are pulling back on a search for a camouflage-clad gunman suspected of ambushing a police officer

By Nigel Duara and Jeff Barnard
Associated Press

WALDPORT, Ore. — Police in Oregon are pulling back on a search for a camouflage-clad gunman suspected of ambushing a police officer, hoping if the fugitive is hiding in the sleepy neighborhood on the Oregon Coast that the move will flush him out.

"We're changing tactics," Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda told OPB Radio's Think Out Loud on Friday. "Either Mr. Durham is long gone and we are in a way wasting resources with all the SWAT teams down there, or he is hunkered down in a house somewhere waiting for us to leave.

"If he sees we are leaving and don't have that much presence any more, he'll surface."

Police have been searching the sleepy Bayfront neighborhood in Waldport for David Anthony Durham of Portland since Sunday night, when a Lincoln City officer was shot during a traffic stop.

Police chased Durham's vehicle down U.S. 101, and forced it to stop in Waldport with a spike strip pulled across the highway. The driver fled on foot.

Miranda said they would not use Durham's dog, Huckleberry, who was found earlier this week, to try to find Durham.

"This is a large territory," Miranda said. "If Mr. Durham is hunkered down in a house, the dog probably would not be able to detect him."

Miranda said Coast Guard helicopters are still flying the area at the mouth of Alsea Bay, but have found no signs that Durham may have swum across the frigid waters to escape the peninsula where he fired on a crab fisherman pulling his pots in the bay on Monday.

"He is still considered armed and dangerous, very dangerous," said Lincoln County Sheriff's Lt. Curtis Landers.

Officer Steven Dodds remained in a Portland hospital recovering from gunshot wounds to his pelvis and abdomen that doctors say would have killed him if he hadn't managed to call in the shooting to dispatchers, then been rushed to the hospital for surgery.

Family members describe the 43-year-old Durham as an avid outdoorsman who designs his own camouflage clothing and that he had become delusional after taking pain medication for an injured shoulder.

A warrant charges Durham with attempted aggravated murder.

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