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Man crouching in bushes near Laughlin Road Friday morning was later apprehended with a pellet gun

A suspected gun-carrying man in northeast Prineville raised concerns and prompted a local school to lock its doors Friday.

On Friday morning at approximately 10:30 a.m., Prineville Police, Crook County Sheriff's Deputies and Oregon State Police responded to the area of Northeast Laughlin Road between Ochoco Plaza Drive and Combs Flat Road to a report of a male with a hunting rifle walking around in bushes behind local businesses.

This area consists of unimproved areas next to Ray's Food Place complex, Crook County School District offices, and Crook County Department of Human Services (DHS) offices as well as residences and nearby Barnes Butte Elementary School.

Upon arrival, officers spotted a male, later identified as Joey Wayne Smith, 40, of Prineville, crouched down in the bushes just north of Laughlin Road in an unimproved area. The area where Smith was crouched is a hillside, raised up above the surrounding businesses with grass, brush and trees. About four minutes later, Smith came out of the bushes and surrendered to officers without further incident. Smith was later transported to Crook County Jail where he was booked and lodged for disorderly conduct.

Nearby Barnes Butte Elementary School, as well as the DHS office were placed on lockout during this incident.

In the early afternoon, the Crook County School District reported that "The police activity on Laughlin Street behind Ray's is now over and police have given the all-clear."

"There was never a direct threat to Barnes Butte Elementary or any other schools. We did call for a 'lockout' at Barnes Butte, which just means all doors were locked and nobody was allowed inside during the incident," the press release went on to say. "Thanks to Prineville Police and the Crook County Sheriff's Office for their quick response!"

Northeast Laughlin Road was blocked to through traffic for about an hour and a half. A drone was deployed to safely check the area for weapons or other involved parties.

The Prineville Police Department also reported that no other people were involved in the incident and no one was injured. An air powered pellet rifle was located in the bushes near the spot Smith was taken into custody. The air rifle closely resembled a hunting rifle and had a hunting scope attached. A pickup associated with Smith was parked on Northeast Laughlin Road at the location of the incident. A .22 caliber rifle and several rounds of ammunition were located in the pickup. A small amount of illegal narcotic and drug paraphernalia were located in the pickup. The pickup was towed from the scene.


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