A 52-year-old Bend man suspected of sexual assault refused to pull over for Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies and led them on a chase Friday afternoon, eventually stopping near a set of mailboxes – and as deputies got out to talk to him, he shot and killed himself, officers said.
Sheriff’s detectives were conducting surveillance around 3:20 p.m. on a sexual assault suspect identified as Gary Ray Salser and asked assisting patrol deputies to stop his car on Vandevert Road, said sheriff’s Capt. Tim Edwards.
Salser failed to pull over for the two marked sheriff’s office cars, continuing west on Vandevert, then south and west on South Century Drive, Edwards said.
The red Hyundai turned onto Swan Road and stopped near the mailboxes for the Oregon Water Wonderland subdivision, Edwards said.
Three sheriff’s deputies positioned their cars behind Salser’s car to conduct a high-risk traffic stop, Edwards said.
As they got out of their patrol cars, Salser, still sitting in the driver’s seat, raised a handgun and shot himself in the head around 3:25 p.m., Edwards said.
La Pine Fire medics responded and pronounced Salser dead at the scene.
As the request of the sheriff’s office, the suicide is being investigated by Oregon State Police detectives, with assistance from the county medical examiner and district attorney’s office.
Sheriff Larry Blanton said the man was sought in an alleged rape involving a gun.
Blanton called it "a tragic end to an investigation that, frankly, we don't like, in any sense of the imagination."
Numerous sheriff's deputies and Oregon State Police troopers had responded to the scene on the report of gunfire, and assisted in the subsequent investigation.
Area residents were being told what had happened and asked if they had witnessed what occurred.