Rainier man pleads guilty in 2018 standoff
A man who was arrested last year after an armed standoff with police in Rainier pleaded guilty to several charges last week.
Richard Flores was sentenced Thursday, Nov. 14, to seven and a half years in prison on two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, one count of felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of menacing.
Flores will receive credit for time served in jail since the incident.
On Aug. 14, 2018, Oregon State Police troopers responded to a report of a road rage incident in which a man reportedly stopped his car on Highway 30, got out of the vehicle and yelled at another party, who reported the incident. When OSP Sr. Trooper Robin May and Sgt. Luther Schwartz arrived at a Rainier home where the man's vehicle was registered, they were met by Flores, who was armed with a handgun in the "low ready" position, according to the probable cause affidavit filed after the incident.
Both troopers retreated down the driveway. Flores then confronted the troopers with a compound bow and "full drew the compound bow as if to fire an arrow" at the troopers. The troopers retreated again, and Flores went back inside his home.
A stand-off ensued with the OSP SWAT team and Flores was taken into custody that night.
Later that month, Flores was charged in a domestic violence incident that occurred in 2017. Flores pleaded guilty to strangulation last week and the remaining charges were dismissed.
At his plea hearing, Flores briefly seemed to back out of the plea deal arranged with prosecutors.
"I feel a no contest plea would be better," Flores said.
Columbia County District Attorney Jeff Auxier said a no contest plea was not offered, but that they could take the matter to trial.
Flores ultimately agreed to the arranged plea deal, but at times, Columbia Circuit Judge Jenefer Grant had to make multiple requests for response from Flores.
"I'm a little uncertain about this, Ms. Myrick," Grant said to Flores' court-appointed attorney, Jennifer Myrick. "This is not what I usually think of as a voluntary acceptance of responsibility."
Myrick assured Grant that Flores' decision was voluntary.
"This is voluntary, but it is a very hard issue," Myrick said.
Flores had previously been represented by Mark Lang but had asked to fire Lang and receive a new attorney in March, claiming that Lang had failed to provide relevant documents or file motions.
In court, Flores apologized to May, the trooper who had responded to his home in 2018, who was in attendance.
Grant reminded Flores how easily the incident could have taken a turn.
"I hope that you will find some gratitude in your heart, for being here, and for those troopers that didn't shoot you when you put them in a position of having to choose between their lives and yours," Grant said.
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