LGPD has busy day with arrests

By Kelly Ducote, The Observer June 21, 2013 10:18 am

Two men create struggles for officers

La Grande Police had a busy day Thursday with two separate struggles for arrests.

The first occurred about 5:30 a.m. when the police received a complaint of a man, Brandon Emwalu, in the 1600 block of Washington Avenue, firing a handgun. When officers arrived at the scene, the suspect retrieved a pistol from his pocket and ignored commands to drop the gun, according to police. He eventually dropped the gun and was taken into custody after a brief struggle. 

Emwalu, 33 of La Grande, was arrested on charges of unlawful use of a weapon, reckless endangering and second-degree disorderly conduct. He was additionally arrested on a Washington County warrant charging first-degree burglary and second-degree criminal mischief.

“I am very proud of the tremendous restraint and professionalism that Senior Officer (Shaun) Gridley and Officer (Brandon) Boucher showed during this incident,” said Police Chief Brian Harvey.

At about 11 a.m., officers encountered suspect Steven James Cornford at the Union County District Attorney’s office. The suspect was wanted on arrest warrants and challenging toward officers, telling them he was willing to fight, police said. Cornford then jumped out a second story window to escape the officers. He jumped onto a carport roof and then to the ground where he led officers on a foot pursuit. 

Officers caught up to the suspect at Third and K avenues, but he refused to surrender. La Grande police then deployed a TASER to take the suspect into custody, according to police. Cornford, 24, of La Grande, was taken to Grande Ronde Hospital for evaluation before he was lodged at the Union County Correctional Facility. He was arrested on charges of third-degree escape, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and on two warrants for order to show cause.

“Sgt. (Dave) Sams and Officer (Ryan) Miller were the arresting officers and displayed quick thinking and exceptional professionalism with this incident,” Harvey said.

Contact Kelly Ducote at 541-786-4230 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Kelly on Twitter @lgoDucote.