CHINOOK — On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 28, three Pacific County deputies paced up and down the southbound side of Highway 101 in Chinook. They moved slowly, squinting at the ground as they walked.
“The deputies were looking for casings and other evidence,” connected with a bizarre incident that occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, Lt. Jim Bergstrom, of the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office said. A suspected burglar from Portland allegedly fired several shots when his victim pursued him in a car chase from Chinook to the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
An Astoria man who rented space in a Chinook storage facility allegedly learned that John Manley Wilson, 45, was planning to break into his unit over the weekend. According to a sheriff’s office press release, Pacific County dispatchers received a call from the man around 2:47 a.m. on Saturday. He said when he went to check on his unit, he caught Wilson leaving with a trailer full of his things.
The victim, who has not been named, allegedly tried to force Wilson to stop by blocking Wilson’s red Ford Explorer with his own vehicle. Wilson allegedly tried to ram the victim’s vehicle, and, when the victim got out of his car, allegedly tried to run him down. He then fled, the press release said.
The victim got back into his vehicle and pursued Wilson. As they were driving through Chinook, Wilson reportedly stuck his hand through the window, and fired a handgun at the victim, but missed. The victim rammed his vehicle into the back of the trailer filled with his belongings.
As they sped toward the bridge, Wilson allegedly began intentionally swerving his Explorer, causing items to fall out of the trailer for about four miles. The victim told investigators that during the chase, the suspect fired about six to eight shots in all. As the two men neared the bridge, Wilson allegedly stopped, causing the victim to ram into him again.
It was not immediately clear when the victim stopped chasing Wilson. No one was harmed during the chase, Bergstrom said, but the victim’s belongings did not fare so well.
“There are still items missing,” Bergstrom said. “I think some fun-loving citizens decided, ‘I like this item.’”
Wilson was arrested on outstanding warrants when Astoria police stopped him at the foot of the bridge. Police allegedly found meth and a gun in his vehicle, the press release said.
Oregon authorities have charged him with felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm and meth possession, according to the Daily Astorian. He has not yet been charged with any crimes in Washington, but that could happen soon.
Deputies are still actively investigating the incident. On Tuesday, they were preparing to search Wilson’s Explorer. Because it is an open investigation, Bergstrom declined to comment on some aspects of the case, including the relationship between the victim and Wilson, and whether investigators have been able to recover any casings.