Josh Benham

A transient is in custody after threatening to shoot several people, including law enforcement, and himself Wednesday night.

Charles Preston Wilson, 40, was arrested on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance (meth), which are both Class C felonies, plus menacing, pointing a firearm at another and reckless endangering, Class A misdemeanors.

The Union County 911 dispatch center received call about 3:30 p.m. about a subject threatening people with a gun en route to Forest Service Road 62 on Forest Capital private timberland outside of La Grande, Union County Sheriff’s Office Cpt. Craig Ward said.

Ward said the reporting party stated they had been confronted by an individual who had a loaded shotgun and was threatening to “shoot them, then shoot himself.” Ward couldn’t say if Wilson, who is bound to a wheelchair but can drive, was out of his vehicle or in his wheelchair.

The reporting party fled and called law enforcement. UCSO deputies were sent to the area and found Wilson camped out. Ward said he had been camping there with his dog after Wilson’s family had “grown tired of him” and kicked him out of the home.

“He was quite confrontational,” Ward said. “He threatened to shoot officers. (He) said he had five guns and would shoot them all.”

Ward said UCSO Sgt. Ken Woodward enticed Wilson out into open ground by offering a cigarette lighter, which Ward said Wilson wanted. Once he wheeled himself out to retrieve the lighter, Ward said law enforcement ran up and quickly got him into custody. The lone shotgun was the only weapon discovered following the arrest.

Wilson also was found to have a meth pipe on him, which Ward said underscored the “dangers of that stuff,” believing that with an individual under the influence of drugs, the situation could’ve taken a darker turn.

“I’m really relieved no one was hurt,” Ward said. “Sgt. Woodward lured him out, but it was still very dangerous. It was pretty courageous of all of the deputies.”

Ward said the arrest and incarceration took longer than usual due to Wilson’s physical situation and his dog. As of Thursday afternoon, Wilson was still in the Union County Jail on $35,000 bond. An Oregon State Police trooper assisted UCSO personnel in the arrest.