Details emerge in Hermiston murder-suicide investigation

Police investigate the scene of a shooting that left two dead and one injured at the corner of Northwest 11th Street and West Madrona Avenue on Thursday in Hermiston.

Jason Huston fired three rounds from a 9 mm Glock pistol Thursday into his lifelong friend Ken Valdez at his Hermiston home, killing him. Huston also shot Andria Bye once and, in the end, shot and killed himself.

Bye was taken to the hospital after telling police what had transpired, though she didn’t know the whereabouts of her son, 14-year-old James “JJ” Hurtado.

Perhaps no more than an hour before, Huston is believed to have shot and killed Hurtado, to whom he was something of a father figure, with the same pistol.

Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston and Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan revealed more on Monday about one of the most violent crimes in Hermiston’s history.

Huston and Valdez, both 45, had known each other as far back as high school and had coached wrestling together since 2013, and Huston and Bye had previously been in a relationship. Edmiston held off discussing a motive, calling it premature while the investigation continues.

Hurtado had last been seen Thursday at 10 a.m. when Huston picked him up in Umatilla and said they were going to play disc golf at McNary Park, according to Edmiston.

Police around 11:18 a.m. responded to calls about a shooting at Southwest 11th Street and Hermiston Avenue. They found the door open at Valdez’s home at 130 N.W. 11th St., and inside found Bye and the bodies of Valdez and Huston.

Edmiston said Bye gave a detailed statement to police, but Huston had not told her he shot her son. Bye was released from the hospital over the weekend.

Detectives at a debriefing talked about their search for Hurtado that began soon after they arrived at Valdez’s home, Edmiston said, and also came up with a “to do” list, including more places to check for the teen. They soon learned of two places Huston was known to go shooting recreationally.

“When we got that, it was starting to get dark,” Edmiston said, “so we had to hurry.”

Detectives went to both sites, he said, and found the boy’s body off Country Lane about two miles outside the Hermiston city limits.

Police found a pickup that belonged to Huston on Bridge Road, which is near Country Lane, but Edmiston said Huston drove another pickup into town and parked it at Foxwood Apartments near Valdez’s home.

Valdez had a roommate, Edmiston said, but that person was at work during the shooting.

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