Man found dead in home after North Plains standoff, fire

Man found dead in home after North Plains standoff, fire »Play Video
Flames engulf a home in North Plains during a police standoff with an armed man. The standoff started inside the house after a shooting left a man with serious injuries.

NORTH PLAINS, Ore. – A 30-year-old man was found dead in a home that caught fire during a standoff in North Plains Wednesday, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office identified the man as 30-year-old Brian R. Olson. Deputies said they aren't sure at this time if he took his own life or died because of the fire.

Police surrounded the home that caught fire after a morning shooting at the home on Northwest Mountaindale Road near Dairy Creek Road just after 11 a.m., according to Sgt. Bob Ray with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. A standoff ensued for hours with the armed suspect.

Susan Zimmerman told KATU News she called 911 after her neighbor from across the street came to her house yelling, "Brian's got a gun!" Then the neighbor ran back to the house, and Zimmerman said she heard gunshots.

“While I was on the phone with the dispatcher on 911, I heard the “bam bam’ so he ended up getting shot," said Zimmerman.

She said Olson lived in the house with his girlfriend and her 24-year-old son. Zimmerman said it was the girlfriend's son who was shot, and they came to her house after the shooting happened.

“She and her son that had been shot pulled into our driveway, and she got out of her car and was yelling ‘Sharon, Sharon, I need an ambulance' and screaming frantically," said Zimmerman.

The sheriff's office identified the victim as 24-year-old James Crandall. He was shot in his upper-abdomen.

A deputy found Crandall in the car, moved the car to a safe distance and helped get Crandall to an ambulance.

The fire started around 2:30 p.m. after Washington County sheriff's deputies used tear gas. It is not known whether the tear gas started the fire. Ray said the fire started in the basement of the house; that's also where deputies found Olson's body.

Ray said as the house filled with smoke, deputies heard what they thought was a single gunshot inside.

Zimmerman watched the fire from her home across the street.

"I kind of glanced a little bit but I was doing what I was told with the SWAT team saying to stay on the west side of our house," said Zimmerman.

Firefighters put out the fire, and authorities said the search for the suspect was over just before 5 p.m., bringing to an end the hours-long standoff. The sheriff's office said there was no longer a threat to the community.

Medics rushed Crandall to the hospital. The man has serious injuries but is expected to survive.

Police said Olson may have been armed with a high-powered rifle.

Deputies said three people were involved in a family dispute: Olson; his girlfriend, 49-year-old Pamela Crandall; and her son, James Crandall.

Mountaindale Road was closed in both directions. Deputies said the rifle they think the man had could hit something several hundred yards away and was used in the shooting.

"This is very flat farmland out here so officer-safety and the safety of the citizens is paramount," said Ray. "So we've closed the road in significant distances, both directions, just because of safety reasons if he decides to shoot some more."   

Deputies said they've been to the house before on other calls but wouldn't elaborate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.