Hostage situation ends peacefully

By Dick Mason, The Observer February 22, 2014 08:17 pm

Law enforcement officers at the scene of a standoff situation Saturday afternoon on Leffell Rd. in north La Grande. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Law enforcement officers at the scene of a standoff situation Saturday afternoon on Leffell Rd. in north La Grande. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

A 5-1/2 hour hostage standoff at a home on Leffell Road in north La Grande ended without incident late Saturday afternoon when a man was taken into custody by law enforcement officers.

Gregory Scott Carter, 48, was arrested after allegedly holding four juveniles against their will in a house at 62352 Leffell Road. Carter was charged with felony menacing with children present and reckless endangering. He also was arrested on a parole violation warrant out of Kentucky.

Carter was taken into custody at about 5:30 p.m. by the Union County Tactical Team which is comprised of Union County Sheriff's Department officers. The Tactical Team was assisted by the Oregon State Police, the La Grande Police and the Northeast Oregon Regional SWAT Team.

Carter was arrested after being negotiated out onto the front porch of his house, said Union County Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen. The juveniles he had been holding hostage were all relatives of his. Scott had access to at least one firearm. 

"It was a dangerous situation,'' Rasmussen said.

A firearm was discharged once during the standoff inside the house but nobody was hurt.

Rasmussen said he was very happy that the hostage situation was resolved before it got dark, which would have complicated the situation by making it harder to contain the house, the sheriff said.

"It would have been more difficult to see what was going on,'' Rasmussen said.