It’s no way to resolve a personnel problem: an Oregon landscape business owner was arrested after confronting a former employee, according to a story published in the Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). Shots were fired and the former employee’s truck was damaged. The contractor took his brother along to the meeting and he was also arrested.
Justin Richard Swope, 41, had been involved in a dispute with the unnamed former employee for several days, according to a press release from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. The Terrebonne resident had been sending phone and text messages to him for a few days prior to the incident. The nature of their dispute was not disclosed by the sheriff’s office “for investigative reasons.”
Around 9:00 p.m. one night, Swope and his brother, 37-year-old Sisters resident Jonathan Paul Stark, drove to the victim’s campsite about 5 miles southwest of Sisters determined to resolve the dispute, the sheriff’s office says.
However, the evening campsite visit allegedly led to a violent altercation between Swope and his former employee during which Stark damaged the victim’s truck with an unspecified wooden tool. Swope also fired a handgun more than once during the fight, according to the sheriff’s office. No one was injured by the gunfire.
Swope and Stark then fled toward Sisters in Swope’s truck and hid the gun on Stark’s property, according to the sheriff’s office. Shortly afterward, the victim called police to report the assault.
Swope was stopped an hour later near mile post 102 on Highway 126, which was closed briefly. The handgun and other unspecified weapons used during the altercation were recovered.
Swope was taken to the Deschutes County Jail. He’s charged with assault, being a felon in possession of a firearm and disorderly conduct. Stark was cited for criminal mischief and released.
According to the Oregon Landscaping Contractors Board, Swope is licensed to do irrigation and backflow work. He might also want to consider taking some additional classes on anger management and dealing with problem employees.