Man who died trying to stop the Safeway shooting had a criminal history

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A man hailed as a hero for confronting a gunman in a Oregon supermarket Sunday was convicted of child sex crimes while serving in the military decades ago.

Donald Surrett, Jr. died trying to stop 20-year-old Ethan Blair Miller shooting. Police said Surrett’s decision cost him his life but likely saved the lives of others.

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According to data from the Oregon military and state police, Surrett pleaded guilty to two counts of carnal knowledge and two counts of indecent acts in 1994 while serving in the U.S. military, the Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. He was 38 at the time and served in the military for 26 years.

A military court sentenced Surrett to 10 years in prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Donald Surrett, Jr. died while trying to stop a shooting at a Safeway grocery store in Bend, Oregon.

U.S. Army spokeswoman Madison Bonzo said Surrett was downgraded from sergeant first class to private as a result of the conviction. He didn’t serve the entire sentence and moved to Oregon in the early 2000s, according to public records.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel confirmed Surrett was convicted of an “indecent act involving a minor” in a military court.

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Information from state and federal court records State of Oregon The police sex offender registry shows that Surrett did not reoffend after his release from prison, and the police considered him a Level 1 offender, the lowest classification in the state and an indication that he was not considered a high risk of recurrence.

Video shows 66-year-old Surrett hiding behind a product cart until the gunman, who had shot 84-year-old Glenn Bennet at the entrance of the store, looked the other way and then attacked him with a knife, according to reports. the police.

The gunman committed suicide when police entered the building.

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Sheila Miller, a Bend Police Department spokeswoman, told OPB that police learned of Surrett’s criminal history as they investigated the shooting.

“Mr Surrett’s background does not change the fact that in this case, when faced with grave danger, he acted heroically by attacking and disarming an active gunman at work,” Miller said. “While Mr Surrett’s past may complicate people’s views of his legacy, his actions at the time were courageous and for those actions he deserves credit.”



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