'My husband kept telling him to keep his hands up'

'My husband kept telling him to keep his hands up' »Play Video
Joshua R. Cavett in his booking photo after he was found on foot with his daughter in Gresham Saturday night.

GRESHAM, Ore. - "He said he had two knives on him. My husband kept telling him to keep his hands up because police were going to be there at any time."

That's how a woman described the tense moments when she and her husband realized that a man wanted in an Amber Alert was right outside their patio door.

The two didn't want to be identified, but talked to KATU in-depth on Sunday about what happened when they found themselves face-to-face with a wanted man.

Joshua R. Cavett, 36, was wanted in connection with a shooting that left his estranged wife, 27-year-old Jessie Cavett, critically injured. The woman later died, according to her sister, Jennie Cochran, although police refused to confirm that information.

Cochran also revealed more about what happened immediately following the shooting. She said before Cavett took off with his 2-year-old daughter, he left his 5-year-old stepdaughter, at the scene with her mother. The girl managed to call one of her mother's friends for help and that friend then called 9-1-1.

"I spoke with her dad this morning. He was explaining to her how mommy's not coming back," Cochran said.

What happened next was a manhunt for the man suspected of shooting his wife and abducting his daughter, prompting an Amber Alert. He had been on the run for hours when a 9-1-1 call came in from Gresham.

"My husband went out to have a cigarette last night and he heard somebody yell 'please call the police - I want to turn myself in. He looked around and saw a guy standing out in the street. The guy was wearing a vest and he noticed the tattoos on his arm. He flashed to the Amber Alert we'd seen earlier."

"He ran in, grabbed the phone and told me what was going on. We walked out to almost the trees - told him we called police and they were coming. He said he had two knives on him. My husband kept telling him to keep his hands up because police were going to be there at any time."

She said Cavett then appeared concerned about his daughter and asked that she talk to the little girl.

"I got the sense she was upset since he asked us to talk to her. He just said 'could you please talk to my daughter?' We tried to get him to get out of the street and come to the sidewalk, put her over the fence, but he didn't want to do that."

She tried to comfort the girl.

"(I told her) 'honey, it's going to be OK, police are coming, don't worry. It looked like he didn't want to keep putting her through whatever he was doing - he wanted her safe."

"He seemed concerned about his daughter. He was turning himself in. It wasn't that we recognized him and called the police and caught him. He was done."

And when police arrived in force, Cavett went along with their commands and gave himself up.

"He didn't fight at all - he had his hands up. They told him to put his daughter down and he put his daughter down."

It was apparent that Cavett's daughter was scared and confused by everything that was going on around her.

"But I never heard her cry. When he set her down she was screaming "Daddy!" She wanted to be back with him. She was afraid with all those police running up."

The girl would not be able to be with her father, though. She was pulled to safety and Cavett was taken into custody. He is now behind bars and is being held on $500,000 bail.

Jessie Cavett in a cropped photo from a memorial Facebook page.

Cavett's wife had a restraining order against him and she had recently filed for divorce. Joshua Cavett did not have legal custody of their daughter. He has an extensive criminal history and two other women in his past had also filed restraining orders against him.

One of Cavett's former neighbors, who did not wish to be identified, said Cavett and his wife fought on a regular basis when they lived together in Molalla.

"They were very volatile," she said. "Alcohol included. They were very bad."

"It was on a regular weekend basis we'd have profanity screamed across the streets," she added. "We were all talking about going to the association to get them kicked out because it was so bad."

According to police, Joshua Cavett is a member of a notorious motorcycle gang, the Gypsy Jokers, who have had a reputation in the past for their involvement in criminal activity.

Jennie Cochran said her sister, Jessie, grew up in Salem, went to McKay High School and was an instructor at Bella Institute School of Cosmetology in Portland.