Standoff ends with fireworks arrest

By Pat Caldwell
Malheur Enterprise

NYSSA – What looked like an armed standoff in the making ended peacefully last week in Nyssa.

Police last Thursday, June 16, responded to a report of shots being fired near East Fourth Street.

Nyssa Police Chief Raymond Rau and Sgt. Don Ballou arrived and began a search. As Rau walked up to a house at 102 E. Fourth, he spotted a young man whom he recognized standing in the back yard, north of the house.

Rau reported he saw the man move his hands near his waist, and then there was a loud bang. At the same time, Ballou approached the home from the south side.

Rau drew his service weapon and yelled at the man, who turned, looked at the chief, and then ran into the house and locked the door.

Rau and Ballou tried to contact the man but he didn’t respond.

Three Malheur County Sheriff’s Office deputies and two Oregon State Police troopers arrived to assist, and Rau also contacted the Nyssa Police Department’s Tactical Team.

As police set up a perimeter, the man came out of the house and surrendered.

In their investigation, police determined the man had been igniting M80-type devices, which are illegal in Oregon.

Jose Luis Vazquez, 21, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and possession and use of illegal fireworks, Class B misdemeanors.

“The Nyssa Police Department takes the responsibility to safeguard the lives of our community members very seriously. This type of call for service could have ended tragically for this young man due to his foolish and reckless actions,” Rau said.