Shooting victim had worked as snowplow driver in Baker County

By Baker City Herald October 07, 2013 09:56 am

By Chris Collins and Jayson Jacoby

Baker City Herald

Michael Piete, one of two Baker County men who were shot to death at a cabin near Granite late Wednesday, had worked as a seasonal snowplow driver in Baker County for two winters several years ago.

Piete, 43, along with his uncle, Kenneth C. Gilliland, 64, were killed during a deer-hunting trip in Grant County.

Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer said a 14-year-old boy who is Piete’s foster son is the suspect.

The teenager, whose name has not been released, accidentally shot himself in his right leg but he is expected to recover, Palmer said Friday.

Authorities have not talked about possible motives, or whether the teenager will be charged as an adult.

Palmer said he filled out a probable cause affidavit, listing two counts each of homicide and unlawful use of a firearm against the 14-year-old.

Piete worked on the seasonal snowplow crew for two winters for the Oregon Department of Transportation before taking a full-time job with ODOT at Meacham, said Brad Payton, manager at ODOT’s Baker City station.

Payton said Piete had been trying to get on full-time with ODOT at the Baker City station which is closer to his home on Dry Creek Road off Highway 30 southeast of Baker City.

Piete and Gilliland lived on that property, which Gilliland owns, according to Baker County Assessor’s Office records.

Two phone numbers listed for “Carlotta and Mike Piete,” both in the Haines area, have been disconnected.

Piete and Gilliland had hunted deer together and with other relatives for years from the cabin, which is off the 1305 Road on the Umatilla National Forest about nine miles southwest o Granite.

The cabin is owned by Bill Gilliland of Tidewater, a community on the Alsea River near Waldport on the Oregon Coast. He is Kenneth Gilliland’s brother. 

Bill Gilliland was also at the cabin last week and he drove to Granite after the shootings to call police.

“I am just shocked,” Homer Gentry, Piete’s former stepfather, said Friday from his home in Baker City.

Gentry said he hunted for years with Piete and Kenneth Gilliland. Gentry said he did not know the teenager.

Photos of the cabin were released by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office on Friday. They show a one-room log structure with a wood stove. Inside the door lies a bolt-action rifle.

That gun was not used in the shooting, however, Palmer said.

A rifle and a pistol were involved in the shooting, Palmer said.

 The shooting did not appear to be alcohol-related.

Jeff Barnard of The Associated Press contributed to this story.