A suspect in a western Washington double homicide is dead after an hours-long standoff Wednesday in a Pendleton motel.
According to the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Jared Abernathy was suspected in a double homicide in Shelton, Washington. The sheriff’s office reported Abernathy shot and killed himself inside his hotel room.
The standoff at the Motel 6, 325 S.E. Nye Ave., started about 1 p.m. and ended about 8:40 p.m. Dozens of police were involved, including several from Oregon State Police and the Pendleton Police Department.
A Pendleton officer just before 1 p.m. found a 2006 Chevrolet Equinox associated with Abernathy parked behind the Motel 6 just off Interstate 84, according to a written statement from Pendleton police chief Stuart Roberts. U.S. Marshals soon arrived to help with the investigation and apprehension.
Police set up a perimeter around the hotel, and the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Hermiston Police Department sent officers, vehicles and equipment. They staged a few blocks away at the Red Lion Motel.
“Trained negotiators were able to establish communication with Abernathy at 3:14 p.m.,” according to Pendleton police. “Communications were maintained for almost five hours as Abernathy spoke to family, friends and negotiator(s).”
Officers at Motel 6 concentrated efforts on a second-floor room facing north over Interstate 84. Multiple police were in military-style tactical gear and helmets and armed with assault weapons. Police shut down I-84 between exits 209 and 213 for a period as a safety precaution. Two state police also cleared people from the north side of an adjacent hotel, warning the onlookers they were in danger.
Police in an armored vehicle rolled to the hotel’s north side just before 8 p.m. “The “ultimate goal of having Abernathy come out of his motel room peacefully,” Roberts reported, “ended at 8:06 p.m. when negotiators heard what sounded like a muffled report from a firearm.”
Police at least twice used a megaphone to try to communicate with Abernathy, but the attempt went unanswered. Moments later an explosion emanated from the back of the hotel.
Roberts reported that explosion was police breaching the locked hotel room, blowing it off its hinges. Officers entered and found Abernathy dead.
Detectives from Pendleton and state police in cooperation with the Oregon Medical Examiner’s Office and Mason County Sheriff’s Office processed the motel room.
According to The Olympian newspaper, Jared Abernathy is suspected in the deaths of Tara M. Abernathy and Kenneth E. Koonrad, who were found dead Tuesday in a house north of Shelton, Washington. Both victims appeared to have died as a result of gunshot wounds, according to the paper.