Three found fatally shot in Juniper Canyon residence
A Prineville man shot and killed his son and father last week, and then shot and killed himself, according to authorities.
The three local residents were found dead in their home from gunshot wounds Thursday in what authorities are ruling was a double murder and suicide.
Joe Christopher Hight, 39, was ruled to be the shooter. His body and that of Joe Preston Hight, 70, and Aiden Daniel Hight, 11, were located at their Umatilla Loop residence in Juniper Canyon, according to the Crook County Sheriff's Office.
According to Crook County Sheriff John Gautney, a neighbor had not seen any of the residents for several days and went to check on them. The neighbor then reported a deceased person at the residence and deputies responded late Thursday morning and discovered the tragedy.
An investigation ultimately found that all three people died of a fatal gunshot wound. Based on the evidence at the residence, authorities determined Joe Christopher Hight used a firearm and fatally shot his father and his son, then died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Law enforcement initially sealed the area as a crime scene Thursday, and the Central Oregon Major Incident Team was called for assistance as well as the Oregon State Police Crime Lab. Investigation work lasted through the weekend.
CCSO reported that Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting ordered an autopsy to help with the positive identification of the deceased persons. However, once the next-of-kin notifications were complete and family members were able to travel to Prineville to positively identify the bodies of the three deceased, it was determined in consultation with the state medical examiner's office that an autopsy of each person was no longer necessary as the cause of death to each was clear.
CCSO was also assisted in the investigation by Prineville Police Department, Oregon State Police, Crook County Fire and Rescue, Crook County Medical Examiner's Office, and Juniper Ridge Funeral Home.