A 25-year-old Baker City man who entered two homes on West Campbell Loop early Sunday morning was held at gunpoint by the homeowner at the second residence while he and his wife waited for law enforcement officers to arrive.
Jesse Le Scott Gregory, 25, of 1450 13th St., was cited on two counts of first-degree trespassing and one count of third-degree criminal mischief. He was taken to St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City for treatment of scrapes and cuts on his right arm and further evaluation, said Sheriff Travis Ash.
District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff said he will be reviewing Sheriff’s Department reports to determine how to proceed with charges.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Craig Rilee first was called to the home of Dave and Karen Lewis who had reported that a man had entered their home about 4 a.m. Sunday.
Dave Lewis said Tuesday that he was awakened by the sound of a crash that he at first thought was coming from outside. He soon determined the sound was made by a person who was in his house.
After checking on his wife, Lewis began to investigate further and found a man in the bathroom.
“I said ‘what are you doing in my house?’ ” Lewis said.
Gregory responded that he was looking for Corey.
Lewis informed the man that Corey was not in his house and that he would have to leave. Lewis said the young man put his hands up, turned and went slowly out the door.
Lewis said he never felt threatened by Gregory, who left a trail of blood through the house and on the window of the front door. Gregory apparently had shattered the door’s nearly full-length window to gain entry, Lewis said.
“He was really confused, disoriented and made some pretty bad choices,” Lewis said.
Gregory left the Lewis home and traveled east to the next house, which sits on the south side of West Campbell Loop and is the home of Tork and Wanda Ballard.
Wanda said Tuesday that she also was awakened by a loud noise that sounded like an animal or something was in distress.
“Our bedroom window is by the front door and I thought there’d been a wreck and somebody needed help,” she said.
She awakened her husband, who she said sleeps with earplugs to muffle the sound of her loud snoring.
“I got him awake, and he grabbed a gun and went to the front room,” she said.
There Tork Ballard found Gregory lying on the couch with a blanket pulled over him.
Gregory entered the house through two unlocked back doors, walked past the Ballards’ bedroom door and into the bathroom, again leaving a trail of blood throughout the house.
Gregory had wrapped his arm in a towel and then laid on the couch where his mournful noises became “really, really loud,” Wanda said.
Like Lewis, Tork Ballard asked Gregory what he was doing in his house as he poked him with the .22-caliber rifle he’d taken with him to confront the intruder.
Gregory put his hands up, two or three times saying “I’m good. Everything’s OK,” as Tork Ballard held him at gunpoint, Wanda Ballard said.
She noted that the young man was very lucky “to make it through two houses in Eastern Oregon and not have some lead in him.”
Everything happened so quickly from the time the Ballards realized that they had an intruder in their home to the time that Sgt. Rilee arrived. Rilee drove to their house from the Lewis home just up the road while Wanda was still on the phone with the 9-1-1 dispatcher, she said.
“It takes a little bit for you to realize that this person is seemingly harmless,” Wanda said of Gregory, as she wondered how things might have gone if she’d been home alone.
“We have guns, but we don’t necessarily want to shoot someone,” she said. “But if you provoke me, I will.”
Sheriff Ash praised Tork Ballard for his actions.
“Tork did everything right,” Ash said. “The most important is to call 9-1-1. He held (Gregory) there and he was cooperative, which was great. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured.”
See more in the Jan. 17, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.