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OSP Investigating Death of Man Who Shot Himself During Gilliam County Traffic Stop
Sheriff Gary Bettencourt
Gilliam County Sheriff's Office
Office: (541) 384-2851
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Oregon State Police, working in cooperation with the Gilliam County District Attorney's Office and Gilliam County Sheriff's Office, are investigating the death of a La Grande area man who shot himself Saturday during a traffic stop on Interstate 84 about five miles east of the John Day Dam.
On November 1, 2008 at approximately 4:30 p.m. a Gilliam County Sheriff's Office sergeant accompanied by a reserve deputy stopped a 1998 Chevrolet Blazer westbound Interstate 84 near milepost 119 for traveling 86 mph in a 65 mph speed zone. Upon initial contact with the lone occupant, officers identified him as WOODY CHARLES ALBERS, age 20, from La Grande. After positively identifying ALBERS, he was asked to drive ahead to a safer location about a mile west.
After moving to the secondary location and stopping, the sergeant asked ALBERS to exit the car and come to the area where the officers were standing on the freeway shoulder. While waiting for ALBERS to exit the vehicle they heard a single gunshot, took cover and notified dispatch a shot was fired from inside the vehicle.
The officers waited about a minute and noted no movement from the vehicle, so they approached and saw ALBERS had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest. They removed ALBERS and began emergency medical aid until relieved by Arlington ambulance personnel.
LifeFlight was dispatched from the Dallesport area. After LifeFlight's arrival, ALBERS was pronounced deceased.
Oregon State Police was requested to lead the investigation. Information learned to this date indicates ALBERS was on felony probation related to a drug conviction. The vehicle driven by ALBERS and the handgun he used in the shooting were determined by an OSP La Grande-area investigator to be stolen from a neighbor's residence while they were out of town.
Questions for Gilliam County Sheriff's Office should be directed to Sheriff Gary Bettencourt at (541) 384-2851.
The investigation is continuing and will be reviewed by Gilliam County District Attorney Marion Weatherford.