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Officer Ray Cooper III allegedly stepped in as 28-year-old Jeb Stewart was hitting a pregnant woman.

Jeb StewartAn officer with the Yamhill Police Department is being hailed for stopping an attack on a pregnant woman just east of Cornelius Tuesday morning, Feb. 13.

A spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff's Office said Ray E. Cooper III was off-duty when he noticed a commotion in the the 34400 block of Southwest Tualatin Valley Highway, near the Open Door Counseling Center, and found that a man was hitting the woman, his girlfriend.

"He stopped and intervened and … separated them and called for deputies to come," said Washington County Detective Robert Rookhuyzen.

The alleged assailant, 28-year-old Jeb Allen Stewart of Depoe Bay, was arrested for assault and transported to the Washington County Jail in Hillsboro.

Rookhuyzen described the woman's injuries as "minor."

"She got a lump on the back of her head and did not require transport to the hospital, fortunately," Rookhuyzen said.

Cooper reportedly identified himself and verbally commanded Stewart to step away from his alleged victim, and Stewart complied, according to Rookhuyzen. The detective said Cooper did not draw his weapon during the encounter.

Stewart has a lengthy criminal history in Oregon, albeit mostly misdemeanor offenses. Criminal convictions include disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer and escape in 2011, as well as second- and third-degree theft and felony identity theft in 2013.

According to the Sheriff's Office, he was booked into the jail Tuesday on a felony charge of fourth-degree assault.

Under Oregon law, fourth-degree assault is automatically considered a felony if the offender knew the victim was pregnant at the time of the attack.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information on the incident, including the name of the off-duty police officer who intervened and the suspect's criminal history.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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