Man takes own life at PGE
A 55-year-old Madras man, armed with a handgun, drove out to his place of employment — the Portland General Electric Round Butte Dam facility, about 9 miles west of Madras — locked himself in his office, and ended his own life last week.
According to Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office was notified around 2:20 p.m. March 20, that the man, who had threatened to harm himself, was at the PGE facility on Southwest Lower Bend Road.
"One of my deputies decided to check his place of employment, and just happened to find out that he was there," said Sheriff Jim Adkins. "No one followed him out there. He didn't threaten anyone, no one knew he had a gun, no one saw a gun, no one heard the gun shot."
The deputy reached the facility just as the man's co-workers were evacuating the building. With assistance from other deputies and Oregon State Police troopers, who had also been dispatched, the deputy set up a perimeter around the facility.
When law enforcement officers were unable to communicate with the man, the JCSO requested a Central Oregon Emergency Response Team. The team arrived and also attempted to contact the man, but was unsuccessful.
With assistance from a drone, the CERT was able to see inside the office window and determine that the person in the room was not moving.
"The CERT Team subsequently breached the locked door to the office and utilized a robot to enter the room, where unfortunately, the male was found deceased with a single gunshot wound to his chest," Heckathorn reported.
An investigation is continuing, but the JCSO believes that the man took his own life prior to their arrival. No one else was injured.
"PGE staff did an outstanding job in evacuating their employees to a safe location and were able to account for all their employees almost immediately," Heckathorn noted.
"PGE staff was able to provide investigators with valuable information that aided us in investigating this matter," he said. "The event was a shock to PGE staff, but their emergency planning and preparation for emergencies was evident during this event."
The Sheriff's Office was assisted by Oregon State Police, Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services, and the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team, which includes law enforcement officers from agencies throughout the Central Oregon area.