Unfortunately, the Milton-Freewater community lost a well known and well respected citizen to homicidal violence on Dec. 30.
The Umatilla County Sheriff's Office was the lead agency in the investigation of Mr. Carter's death. As you might expect, the news of his passing spread through the area like a wildfire.
An hour after my deputies were dispatched to the Carter home I received a phone call from Walla Walla Country Sheriff John Turner. Sheriff Turner offered the full assistance of the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office.
Whenever a major crime occurs, it's imperative you assign as many officers as possible to the investigation as soon as possible. In this case we had the additional challenge of locating a suspect with a known history of violence before any other innocent people were hurt.
I requested the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office SWAT team and any other deputies/detectives who were available. Sheriff Turner didn't hesitate in sending his SWAT team and as many staff members as he was comfortable assigning to the investigation.
As it turned out, it was one of your deputies who spotted the suspect's vehicle. Working with Walla Walla Police Department, George West Craigen was taken into custody without incident.
Just recently Sheriff Turner and I signed an updated version of the Walla Walla County/Umatilla County mutual aid agreement. It's unfortunate that I had to be the first one to call for mutual aid.
The citizens of Walla Walla County should be proud, the Walla Walla Police Department and the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office are as good as it gets.
I am especially appreciative to Sheriff John Turner and his staff for stepping up and providing the additional assistance we so desperately needed during the course of this tragic event.
Sheriff John A. Trumbo