Hours-long standoff in Ontario ends with suspect’s surrender

A man police identified as Xavier R. Machuca talks to police from a second-story apartment in Ontario on Friday, Dec. 21. He surrendered hours after police arrived to arrest him on pending criminal charges. (The Enterprise/Kristine de Leon)

ONTARIO – A 27-year-old man wanted for attempted murder surrendered to police Friday night after triggering the lockdown of an elementary school, closure of streets and evacuation of an apartment complex as he resisted police demands for five hours.

Xavier R. Machuca of Ontario was arrested on charges of attempted murder, first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon in connection with a shooting earlier in the day.

Police moved to take Machuca into custody Friday afternoon after the charges were filed earlier in the afternoon in Malheur County Circuit Court. He was located in a second-floor unit of the Fair View Apartments in the 500 block of Northwest Ninth Street.

The action triggered a lockdown of May Roberts Elementary School just as students were leaving for the start of their long holiday break. Teachers and other school employees herded children back into the school before releasing them about a half hour later. The school is about a block east of the Fair View Apartments.

In the ensuing hours, Machuca talked with police from the window of the second-story apartment.

“I’m not coming down without a fight,” he yelled to police at one point Friday afternoon.

He had been holding out in the apartment with a woman he knew but eventually allowed her to leave, witnesses reported.

Witnesses also identified a former girlfriend of Machuca’s as a woman who yelled at Machuca as police tried to coax him into surrendering.

At about 8 p.m., after two loud bangs were heard, Machuca walked out of the apartment, raised his hands, and was taken into custody.

He was wanted in connection with a shooting earlier in the day, described in a police affidavit filed in court to support the criminal charges.

According to that affidavit, police were alerted to the shooting when they were called to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario where a man was under treatment for a gunshot. The police report said Jose I. Cuna, listed as a transient, “had what looked to be a gunshot wound to the upper lip.”

Cuna told police he had been at the Fair View Apartment earlier in the day with two men and a woman. He said he and the two men got into a pickup truck to go on a “mission,” the report said. The driver stopped on Malheur Drive, northwest of Oregon Highway 201.

Cuna told police that one of the men he knew as “Sin” asked him to help him with something in the back of the truck.

“When Jose got out of the pickup ‘Sin’ shot Jose with a black snub nose revolver. Jose stated this was point blank,” according to the police report. “Jose stated that he ran and ‘Sin’ shot at him again.”

The report said Cuna ran with the truck in pursuit and he was then picked up by another motorist, who drove him to a nearby truck stop and called authorities.

The report contains no information about what triggered the shooting.

Available court records show that Machuca pleaded guilty in 2008 in Malheur County to one count of unlawful use of a weapon and four counts of reckless endangerment and was sentenced to five years.

Reporter Pat Caldwell of the Enterprise contributed to this report.

Reporter Kristine de Leon: [email protected] or 5412-473-3377.

Police tape marks the scene of the standoff Friday in Ontario. (Photos by Kristine de Leon/The Enterprise unless otherwise noted.)

The SWAT team was positioned directly in front of the unit where the man was holed up.

Acquaintances and family of the suspect await a resolution to the standoff.

The street is blocked off by patrol cars as officers set up a perimeter around the Fair View Apartments in Ontario. (Photo by Jeff Ceniga)

Xaiver R. Machuca walks out of the apartment complex to surrender to police.

Police search the Ontario apartment where Xavier R. Machuca stayed for hours, resisting police demands he surrender.