Clerk Who Ambushed Bend Gunman Got 10 Years for Sex Offences

A Bend, Oregon, produce manager is being remembered as a hero after police say he died trying to stop a gunman. The fact that Safeway had a criminal record from the 1990s for child sex abuse complicated his reputation but did not derail efforts to commemorate him.

Last Sunday’s shooting rampage inside the store was likely halted thanks to 66-year-old Donald R. Surrett, who ambushed the shooter, according to authorities.

According to Surrett’s military court records, he was convicted of sexual assault and other offences. According to court documents reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, in October 1994, Surrett pleaded guilty to two counts of carnal knowledge and two counts of indecent acts involving a minor and was sentenced to 10 years in prison at Fort Leavenworth.

Clerk Who Ambushed Bend Gunman Got 10 Years for Sex Offences
Clerk Who Ambushed Bend Gunman Got 10 Years for Sex Offences

According to a register copy obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive, the Oregon State Police classified him as a level one sex offender, meaning that officials viewed him as having the lowest chance of recidivism possible.

As the Bend Police Department’s spokesperson, Sheila Miller put it, “Mr. Surrett’s background does not diminish the reality that in this occasion, when faced with extreme jeopardy, he behaved heroically in attacking and attempting to disarm an active shooter in his place of employment.” While Mr. Surrett’s history may cloud how people remember him, he deserves recognition for the heroic acts he took at the time.

Veteran Kenneth Hauge reported that Surrett admitted to having been in prison but didn’t like to talk about it. A plaque in Surrett’s honor, he claimed, was already planned by the local chapters of the Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

People have issues, but he turned his life around completely, Hauge said. He risked his life anyway.
According to a Safeway spokesman, Surrett successfully completed a third-party background check, which is standard procedure for the company. The firm claimed ignorance of his past arrests and convictions.

Records show that Surrett worked for the company in the produce department in 2018, and that he has been a La Pine resident since at least the early 2000s. There was no record of his having committed any crimes in Oregon.

The Bend Police Department released a statement saying that Ethan B. Miller, 20, was armed and that Surrett attempted to disarm him.

As police officers entered the supermarket, the gunman shot and killed Surrett before turning the pistol on himself. The elderly Glenn Bennett, age 84, had been shot by the man mere moments before outside the Forum Shopping Center’s Safeway entrance. More than a hundred spent round casings have been found by police inside and around the Safeway, as well as at the suspect’s apartment complex.

In a raving online blog, the shooter said he had never found love and wanted to kill as many people as possible.