JOHN DAY - Two local teens were arrested on charges including assaulting a peace officer, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon on Sunday, Dec. 8, after officers responded to a report of an early-morning disturbance at a residence in the 500 block of Southeast Hillcrest Road.
According to a John Day police report, the incident began at about 1:50 a.m. when officers were dispatched to 501 Southeast Hillcrest Road in response to a call about a loud party at the residence.
Officers report that this was the second time that evening that a complaint of a loud party/disturbance had been reported to the police. According to police, neighbors had complained of loud yelling, loud vehicles and individuals hauling in quantities of alcoholic beverages to the residence.
Police reported that witnesses saw juveniles coming and going and people running from the house in a "suspicious" manner.
John Day Officer Tom Hutchison and Grant County Deputy Jason Reiling were dispatched to investigate, and upon arrival, they reportedly observed two male subjects leaving the residence.
One of the subjects was reportedly carrying a case of beer.
When the officers approached the two subjects, the one carrying the beer reportedly ran, and Hutchison chased after him.
The suspect was later identified as Thomas Jonah Salvino, 19.
Salvino reportedly ran behind the Country Peddler where he fell, at which time Hutchison attempted to take him into custody.
A struggle ensued when a handgun Salvino was carrying fell from his person, police stated.
At this time, Reiling arrived to assist.
According to the police report, Salvino repeatedly tried to grab the handgun while it was on the ground but the two officers were able to prevent him from getting to it.
During the fight a second subject, identified as Colton Ray Clark, 18, arrived and reportedly attacked Hutchison as he was gaining control of Salvino.
Hutchison was able to free himself and pepper sprayed both Clark and Salvino.
Salvino fled the scene, but the officers restrained Clark and secured the handgun.
Later Sunday afternoon, Salvino was arrested at his residence without further incident when John Day Police Chief Kent Wyatt negotiated with him over the telephone. Salvino came outside his residence and surrendered to Hutchison and Officer Kevin Miller.
"The scenario was a recipe for disaster," Wyatt said. "Both young men are lucky to be alive today. Based on my initial examination of the scenario, the officers would have been completely justified in using deadly force when faced with two combative individuals in a fight over a handgun. The amazing restraint exercised by the officers (at personal risk to themselves), is the only reason those young men survived. I have personally known officers involved in similar situations that were forced to take a life to protect themselves."
Clark was charged with interfering with a peace officer, resisting arrest, assaulting a public safety officer and minor in possession.
Wyatt reported that police are also investigating Clark for vehicular eluding, stemming from two previous incidents.
Salvino faces charges of interfering with a peace officer, resisting arrest, assaulting a public safety officer, minor in possession, first-degree escape and unlawful possession of a firearm. Both subjects were lodged in the Grant County Jail.