Defendant Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Kill Three Warm Springs Police Officers
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 02, 2011|
PORTLAND, OR—On November 1, 2011, Waylon McKie Weaselhead, 23, of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones to three counts of assault with intent to commit murder. The maximum sentence the court can impose is 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release.
On May 20, 2010, Warm Springs police officers received information that Madras police officers were in pursuit of a white Ford Explorer and that people inside the vehicle had shot at the officers. Later that same day, Warm Springs police officers observed the suspect vehicle driving on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and two police vehicles gave chase. One car was occupied by Warm Springs Officer Zachary Dowty and the other was occupied by Warm Springs Officers Aaron Gilbert and Andrew Elliot. During the high speed chase, Weaselhead, the front seat passenger in the Explorer, leaned out the window with a rifle and shot at the pursuing officers. One bullet went through the front windshield of Officer Dowty’s car. Another bullet struck the driver’s side door of Officers Gilbert and Elliot’s vehicle. The suspect vehicle was driven by Aldo Antunez, who was previously prosecuted in both state and federal court. Despite a large scale manhunt, involving law enforcement officers from a variety of jurisdictions, the suspects were able to elude the police. On June 25, 2010, Waylon Weaselhead was arrested.
In pleading guilty, the defendant admitted that he shot at the officers with the intent to kill them and that he was doing everything he could to try and escape. Judge Jones noted that this was “a very very serious crime” and that “only by happenstance, your bullets didn’t hit anyone, thank goodness.”
Sentencing is scheduled for December 7, 2011. The parties will recommend that the court sentence the defendant to 12 ½ years in federal prison, to run consecutively to a 15-year state sentence he is currently serving for the attempted murder of the Madras police officers.
The federal case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Warm Springs Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Kerin and Craig Gabriel are prosecuting the case.