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A harrowing scene in the woods northeast of Gaston somehow didn't result in any deaths.

Editor's note: This story is part of the News-Times' special series, "Decade in Review." This series features three stories that helped to define each year of the 2010s. These can retell single stories that mattered to readers of the time, a saga that played out across many articles, and even stories that were crowded to the margins by other news at the time but have made a lasting impact on our region.

COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS - A deputy and a corporal with the Washington County Sheriff's Office were shot and injured on Aug. 8, 2019, while looking for a suspect near Henry Hagg Lake. The incident drew a massive law enforcement response that shut down Southwest Scoggins Valley Road for hours.

The official telling of what happened on Aug. 8, 2019, in the woods just north of Henry Hagg Lake reads like a white-knuckle scene in a war movie — or a horror movie.

The Washington County Tactical Negotiations Team was called out to Hagg Lake that afternoon after a resident called 9-1-1, saying a strange man stole two long guns from outside her house. TNT, as it's often called, is a multiagency tactical team that includes police officers from cities around Washington County. It's generally deployed in situations that are considered hazardous and high-risk — hostage situations, armed standoffs and the like.

As a TNT posse that included six Washington County sheriff's deputies, led by Sgt. John Crecelius, and police officers from Hillsboro and Tualatin searched the woods near the house for any sign of their armed suspect, shots rang out from the brush, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Chris Iverson was struck, but not seriously injured. Cpl. Jeremy Braun took the worst of the gunfire and went down.

Crecelius and the other law enforcement officers at the scene returned fire, the Sheriff's Office said, downing suspect Dante James Halling. As they contained the area and confirmed there was no active shooter, they radioed for medical attention.

Braun and Halling were rushed to local hospitals by LifeFlight helicopters with serious injuries. Iverson was taken by ground ambulance to the hospital.

More than a dozen agencies responded to the scene, including police and fire agencies from across Washington County and sheriff's deputies from nearby Yamhill County.

Iverson was treated and released from the hospital that evening, the Sheriff's Office said. Braun and Halling were hospitalized for several days before being discharged; Halling was immediately taken to the Washington County Jail, where he remains in custody on multiple felony charges, including attempted murder. A trial date has been set for April 21, 2020.

Unfortunately, the Hagg Lake shootout wasn't the only shooting involving law enforcement agents in western Washington County in 2019.

In September, a Hillsboro police officer fired a shot during a physical confrontation with a reportedly armed suspect at Extended Stay America; the bullet didn't strike the suspect, police said.

In October, under circumstances that remain somewhat fuzzy, a Hillsboro officer shot and killed a man in the west precinct parking lot. Police said the suspect brandished a handgun during an argument with another man in the parking lot and refused commands to put down his weapon.

All three incidents are being investigated by the Washington County District Attorney's Office, which is standard procedure whenever a law enforcement officer uses lethal force in the line of duty.


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