4 recent killings has Oregon town on edge

4 recent killings has Oregon town on edge

Credit: NWCN.com

4 recent killings has Oregon town on edge

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on September 7, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 29 at 11:32 AM

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. - Four killings in just eight weeks -- all apparently unrelated -- have put residents of Klamath Falls on edge.

"I'm flipping scared," said Terry Lee, who manages the Summers Lane Tavern, where bartender Douglas Ray Nelson was killed early Thursday. "Things are happening in Klamath Falls that shouldn't be happening."

The series of killings began July 5 with the death of 55-year-old Ronald Bowles, who suffered blunt force trauma to his head while his attackers held his girlfriend face down at his home.

Then 54-year-old Robert Kincaid of Sprague River was shot in the back of the head and buried behind his alleged killer's home, followed by the shotgun death of 18-year-old Antelmo "Temo" Jesus Herrera-Jimenez during a fight.

The deaths are already double the average of two murders per year in Klamath County.

It was the 31-year-old Nelson's death, the second killing in less than a week, that really shook Lee.

"These are things that only happen in a big city," she said Friday outside the tavern where her friend and employee was gunned down.

Dave McKay, a pastor who lives in the neighborhood where Herrera-Jimenez was killed, said there wasn't a neighborhood in town that appeared to be safe.

McKay led a prayer vigil Friday night in memory of the slain teen. More than 100 people showed up.

Klamath County District Attorney Ed Caleb called the unsettling number of killings a "bad stretch of horrible things," but not a trend of increased violence.

"This kind of thing always seems to happen in streaks," Caleb told the Herald and News in Klamath Falls.

"It's not as if we've got a serial killer. It's not gangs shooting in the street," he added.

But it puts a heavy burden on law enforcement, said Caleb, who heads the Major Crime Team handling the investigation.

Homicides, on average, are 20 percent more work than other cases, he said, compounded by the short time frame between the recent killings.

Some officers worked 24 hours straight investigating the killing of Antelmo Herrera-Jimenez, getting little rest before they were called to investigate the tavern shooting.

"Nobody sleeps until we have some kind of lead," Caleb said. "We came right out of that shooting, and had another homicide."

Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger said each killing was unrelated. "They each have their set of circumstances with no similarities except someone was killed."

Authorities said they are concerned that the individual who killed Nelson during an apparent robbery remains a fugitive.

"Law enforcement is very uncomfortable when someone was this much a cold-blooded killer for money," Evinger said.

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