Deschutes County, Ore. — A Portland man, Samson Z Garner, 39, is facing attempted murder charges after authorities uncovered plans for a ‘violent attack’ at an event in Deschutes County.
Detectives from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Garner on Thursday after discovering that he had left Portland and was in the county.
The potential attack was targeted at a rock-climbing event at Smith Rock State Park. The American Alpine Club, a Colorado-based non-profit organization, was hosting the ‘Smith Rock Craggin Classic,’ a three-day climbing festival over the weekend.
The organization became aware of the threat on Wednesday and, in a Facebook post, mentioned their close collaboration with law enforcement agencies and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. They emphasized their commitment to the safety and well-being of staff, volunteers, partners, and participants as their top priority.
Information regarding the threat came to light when detectives from the Portland Police Bureau informed Deschutes County detectives on Monday. The two agencies then collaborated on an investigation spanning several days.
After Garner’s arrest on Thursday, a search warrant of his vehicle uncovered “evidence of the planned attack,” according to Deschutes County authorities. The discovered evidence included multiple firearms, notably a Beretta 9mm handgun, a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun, and an AR-15, as reported by KTVZ, a news partner of KGW. These weapons were listed in a charging document filed by the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office on Friday.
The charging document categorized potential victims as “spectator” and “belayer,” the person responsible for controlling the safety rope for climbers.
Garner has been booked on charges of attempted murder, first and second-degree attempted assault, and unlawful use of a weapon.
The District Attorney’s office, represented by DA Steve Gunnel, stated, “We believe he [Garner] was acting alone. We believe the fact that he’s been arrested means there’s no current threat to the public, so long as he’s in custody.”