Police: Oregon coach who killed 3 had large amount of pills

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Investigators found an “incredible amount of pills” to treat anxiety and depression at the home of a volunteer high school wrestling coach who last month killed himself, the teenage son of a woman he had dated and that woman’s boyfriend in rural eastern Oregon.

Jason Huston also shot the woman, Andria Bye, the mother of the 14-year-old. She survived.

Police say they don’t have a clear-cut motive for the Aug. 18 shootings. Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said pills found at Huston’s home appeared to be prescribed by the Veteran’s Administration. Police have been told that Huston served during the first Gulf War but have not confirmed his military service, Edmiston said.

“We are navigating the red tape of the VA to try and glean additional information and we have no timeline on when that may take place,” Edmiston said Wednesday.

Edmiston also released a timeline of events that matches up with what was described after the shootings that left James “JJ” Hurtado, 14, and Kenneth Valdez, a fellow volunteer wrestling coach at Hermiston High School, another volunteer wrestling coach, dead in separate places.

Edmiston said Huston picked up Hurtado at about 10 a.m. at a grandparent’s house. He then drove him to a spot near the Umatilla River and killed him with one round from a handgun. He then drove toward the home of Valdez. He parked at an apartment building at about 11 a.m. and walked 100 yards to the home.

Huston kicked in the front door and went into a bedroom where Valdez was sleeping with Bye. Huston shot Valdez three times, killing him. Bye was shot once in the back. Huston then called his mother and 911 before sitting on the bed and shooting himself. Huston’s mother also called 911.

Hermiston police arrived at 11:20 a.m. and provided aid to Bye.

The chief said he is waiting on a crime lab to confirm the same gun was used in all the shootings.

“We have no reason to believe otherwise but it is important for us to confirm that,” he said.

Neighbors told KVEW-TV after the shootings Huston had dated Bye for several years and got upset when she started seeing Valdez. Though he wouldn’t use the term love triangle, Edmiston confirmed there had been relationships among the three.

“I would say jealousy was definitely a component of the motive, but I wouldn’t say it was the sole component until after we delve into the medical records — if we can,” he said.

Hurtado was due to start his freshman year at Hermiston High on Aug. 29, school district spokeswoman Maria Duron has said.

The chief said Huston had been a father-like figure to Hurtado, who participated in cross country and wrestling at Hermiston High. It’s unknown why Huston chose to shoot him.

“Inasmuch as we want to learn the `Why’ we may never get to a point where that is known,” the chief said.

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