The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office and a team from the Oregon State Police crime lab are investigating a homicide at the Umapine Creamery west of Umapine.
Sheriff Terry Rowan said the victim was Renee Luiz-Antonio, 35, from Milton-Freewater.
According to Brent Carroll, the owner of the creamery on Umapine Road, the killing was the result of a dispute between two employees and it came to a head early Monday.
“He just walked out of the milking parlor and shot him on the tractor,” Carroll said, without identifying either employee.
The two men had been at odds with one another for some time, Carroll said, when one accused the other of shooting at him in Walla Walla. He said a police investigation did not come to that conclusion and it seemed the pair moved on from any bad blood.
Carroll also said security cameras captured the Monday morning shooting.
Sheriff Terry Rowan said the dispatch center received the report Monday at about 6:30 a.m. and deputies responded in the foggy, sub-freezing morning, where they found Luiz-Antonio dead.
“There was evidence at the scene that indicated Mr. Luiz-Antonio was shot and killed while operating the tractor,” according to written statement from the sheriff’s office.
Detectives and some members of the local major crimes team spent most of the day “investigating and searching for evidence that may lead to a suspect and an arrest in the case,” according to the sheriff’s office.
“We have leads on the case, and are following up with our investigation,” Rowan said. “We are not at liberty to identify the other employee at this time.”
The sheriff’s office also stated the Oregon State Medical Examiner plans to conduct an autopsy Tuesday and will release further information as it becomes available.
Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus also was at the scene. Primus or one of his deputies responds in person to homicide scenes. He said he was there in case the investigation required a search warrant or to answer questions about evidence gathering. Primus also said it helps to have a first-hand account if he needs to present the case to a jury.
Rowan said there are nine people working the investigation, including officers from Hermiston, Milton-Freewater and Walla Walla to help with translation.
Umapine is about 9 miles northwest of Milton-Freewater in the northeastern corner of Umatilla County.