Hermiston Police Chief Sees Upward Trend in Aggravated Assault

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A Hermiston man was arrested on Tuesday and charged with kidnapping and assault, part of what the Hermiston police chief is calling an “upward trend” in the number of aggravated assault cases.

Jon-Christian Stubblefield, 39, was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, coercion and three counts of fourth-degree assault.

Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said officers were called to the area of S.E. Fourth Street near Safeway for a report of an assault taking place.

Stubblefield allegedly assaulted his 38-year-old girlfriend near the Town House Villa Apartments as well as an elderly couple who tried to intervene. The Oregon State Police also responded to the incident.

Edmiston said that while the increase in aggravated assault cases appear to be unrelated and isolated incidents, the uptick is cause for concern.

Edmiston said the department had 36 reports of aggravated assault in 2017. Of those cases, suspects ranged in age from 17 to 48 with 90 percent of the suspects being male. The victims ranged from age 6 to 64 with 51 percent being female and 49 percent male. Edmiston said 57 percent of the incidents involved strangulation.

The good news, said Edmiston, is that the department made arrests in 86 percent of the cases with the national average being only 54 percent.

“As always, we encourage our citizens to call when they see something that does not look right,” Edmiston said. “In yesterday’s case the reports we received, and the fast response by police, likely prevented the situation from escalating further.”