PENDLETON — Ryan Corey Newsome of Pendleton died this weekend after fleeing police Thursday and shooting himself in the head.
Newsome, 28, was at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Washington. His mother, Gina Schertenleib, in a Facebook message to the East Oregonian confirmed doctors declared her son brain dead Friday but kept the body on life support to harvest his organs.
“He will be able to help at least eight people,” she stated, “more if they can do eyes and tissue.”
Pendleton police were looking to arrest Newsome in connection to a shooting early Thursday. He led police that afternoon on a chase that ended on Interstate 84 near milepost 210. Oregon State Police in Pendleton continues to investigate his death. Lt. Mike Turner with state police said that includes how Newsome got a gun.
The Oregon Department of Corrections released Newsome on May 1, 2017, after he served more than seven years in state prison for felony sex crimes. Oregon law prohibits felons from possessing firearms. Turner said state police would try to trace the serial number of the gun Newsome had to find out who owned it last.
Pendleton police Chief Stuart Roberts was at the terrible scene and said Newsome had a quality handgun, not some cheap, Saturday-night special.
Roberts also revealed the background that led police to look at Newsome as the suspect for the Thursday morning shooting.
A woman in May 2018 told Pendleton police Newsome left her a verbally abusive message. She went on a few dates with Newsome, Roberts said, but she did not pursue the relationship. After the message, she asked police to tell Newsome to leave her alone.
She complained twice more in June 2018 about Newsome leaving her harassing messages and driving by and yelling at her. Roberts said she asked about getting a stalking order against Newsome. The police chief explained a stalking order requires “protracted, unsolicited and unwanted contact” that includes elements such as threats of harm. This harassment did not meet that standard.
Still, Pendleton officers talked to Newsome, Roberts said, and he told them he would not cause more problems.
Newsome ended up in the Umatilla County Jail in September 2018 on a post-prison supervision violation. State court records show he wrote a letter to the Umatilla County Circuit Court seeking clarity on when he could get off the supervision and wrote another accusing parole and probation officers of bias against him and of corruption.
Come November, Roberts said, police records indicated Newsome’s behavior prompted concern from friends and even his parole officer about his mental state and the possibility of suicide.
Newsome became the recipient of a new complaint at the end of January, when the boyfriend of the woman who reported the harassment in 2018 told police someone left a teddy bear and message near her residence. That led state police to contact Newsome’s parole officer, who issued a detainer for his arrest. Pendleton police once more booked Newsome into the county jail.
The woman at the time was in an ongoing relationship and wanted nothing more than for the situation with Newsome to go away, Roberts said, which he described as “a fairly normal response.”
The couple in February reported someone slashed a tire on their vehicle, and Roberts said they believed Newsome was the culprit. Roberts said law enforcement also had a strong suspicion Newsome was responsible but had no solid evidence he committed the vandalism. Newsome remained free until May, when he again went to jail on a parole detainer.
He stayed off police radar until officers investigated the shooting early Thursday on the 300 block of Southeast Dorion Avenue. Cops at the scene that night found no evidence of gunfire, but officers returned during the day and dug out a bullet from a window sill.
Roberts said that window belongs to the home of the woman Newsome was harassing for more than a year. Newsroom’s death, however, means the investigation can only go so far.
Newsome’s mother contended her son was not the person the Pendleton community thought he was.
“He spent the last two years trying to prove that,” Schertenleib said. “He was unable to.”