What happened to Tom Nunes


From The Oregonian, March 4, 1995 – not available elsewhere online

A Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy shot and wounded the husband of an Oregon City policewoman after the man went berserk in a highway intersection Friday afternoon, firing shots into the air and at police pleading with him to put down his guns.

Thomas Lee Nunes, 44, of 207 Eluria St., Oregon City, was in serious condition at University Hospital in Portland with three bullet wounds in his chest, abdomen and face.

His wife, Officer Lisa Nunes, 37, went to the department at 2:15 p.m. Friday to report her husband breaking up their house with a sledgehammer and threatening to kill her unless she left.

As police prepared to go to the couple’s home and arrest him, someone telephoned a report of an apparently drunken driver at South Maplelane and South Beavercreek roads. The caller said the green-and-white, two-door Plymouth Duster was heading toward the Cascade Highway, also known as the Oregon 213 Bypass.

A second call soon afterward reported a man shooting a gun in the intersection of the bypass and Washington Street, just south of Interstate 205. Police and sheriff’s deputies converged on the scene at 3:25 p.m.

“It all happened really fast,” said Tom Carlson, 30, of Southwest Portland, who witnessed the shooting.

Carlson and his landscaping partner, Dale Huss, 29, of Southeast Portland drove into the intersection to find Nunes’ car with its passenger window shattered and three bullet holes in the windshield. They thought the driver was in trouble and were about to offer help when the man, a gun in his hand, walked to the middle of the intersection.

He started waving his arms and firing. Police said Nunes fired 10 shots in all.

“First of all, the guy fired four shots in the air,” Carlson said. “Then he was acting crazy, pulling the gun in and out from under his jacket and then acting like he was directing traffic. At one point, he went right up to a lady in a car and acted like he was trying to carjack it.”

Police arrived and sealed off the busy intersection.

“He was still pulling the gun in and out,” Carlson said. “The cops closed in on him and a cop decided to shoot. He went down, but he still had the gun in his hand. The cop shot again, but I don’t know if it hit.”

Shortly before 4 p.m. a Life Flight helicopter landed on the bypass and took Nunes away.

Dozens of police and sheriff’s deputies swarmed over the scene, combing it for spent ammunition cartridges and other evidence. The intersection remained closed for another 2 1/2 hours.

Spokesmen for both the police and sheriff’s departments gave official but somewhat sketchy accounts of the shooting. They said a sheriff’s deputy shot Nunes, but they did not know Friday night which deputy it was. No Oregon City officers fired their guns.

Oregon City Officer Dave Ratto, who knows Tom Nunes, was among the police who went to the intersection to talk to Nunes. “Officer Ratto called out ‘Tom!’,” said Deputy Nicholas L. Watt. “Tom pulled a weapon; he was standing in the middle of the street, stopping traffic.”

Nunes then walked toward police with no guns showing.

Watt said Nunes pulled one from inside his jacket, under which he wore a bullet-resistant vest. Police yelled at him to drop the gun. Instead, Watt said, Nunes “brought the gun down into a pointing position” and fired at least once at the officers. The shot missed.

A deputy returned fire, shooting three times, and “apparently, all three shots hit,” Watt said.

Detective Gordon L. Huiras, a spokesman for the Oregon City Police Department, said that he didn’t know the couple well, but that he had seen them together a few times when Tom Nunes picked up his wife after work.

Lisa Nunes is a patrol officer, assigned to the graveyard shift. She has been with the department for 3 1/2 years. Before that she was a policewoman in Roseburg.

“She’s well-liked and a hard worker who does good, quality police work,” he said.

Thomas Nunes used to work as a cabdriver for Sassy Cab, Huiras said.

One of the Nuneses’ neighbors, Coral Walterman, said she saw the couple early Friday when Walterman went outside to pick up her newspaper.

“It looked like they were all happy; they were saying goodbye to some man,” said Walterman.

By Friday evening, Oregon City police had secured the Nuneses’ ranch-style house, which backs onto Newell Creek Canyon.

Another neighbor, Mia Hoppe, said the couple moved into the house about five months ago and were fixing it up. “I never heard them argue,” Hoppe said. “They both are really nice people.”


From The Oregonian, May 9, 1995

A police officer in a flower-print dress stood beside her husband in Clackamas County Circuit Court on Monday; he was clad in jailhouse blues, shackles and cuffs.

Lisa M. Nunes told the judge there would be no alcohol or guns in their house, not after what her husband of 19 months had done — shot up a busy intersection while astoundingly drunk.

Thomas Lee Nunes, 44, cried, tears streaming from the only eye he has left after a sheriff’s detective opened fire on him March 3, knocking him to the ground and ending his shooting spree.

John C. Moore, Nunes’ attorney, argued that his client has spent 65 days in jail and should not have to go into the county’s residential center for 120 days, as the prosecutor asked.

Deputy District Attorney David F. Paul countered that Nunes needs the structure, support and counseling the center could provide “so the demon that appeared March 3 will not reappear.”

As Paul spoke, Nunes’ wife sat down at the back of the courtroom. She is an Oregon City police officer whose .45-caliber pistol and .38-caliber revolver he wielded and whose bullet-resistant vest he wore that afternoon at the intersection of Oregon 213 and Washington Street. She, too, cried as her husband sobbed and swore to Judge Robert J. Morgan that “the demon is dead.”

Paul said hospital tests showed that Nunes had a .247 percent blood-alcohol level two hours after the shooting. That is more than triple the .08 percent level at which a driver is considered legally drunk in Oregon. Moore said Nunes had been drinking whiskey for 25 hours and was so intoxicated he did not know what he was doing and doesn’t remember it now.

Paul said Nunes drove a car to the intersection, parked it in the middle of Washington Street and fired four .45-caliber pistol shots through its windshield and passenger door and another outside the car. He then got out of the car and fired five shots into the air.

When Nunes turned and pointed the gun toward sheriff’s deputies and police who were yelling at him to put it down, Deputy Charles Bowen fired his own .45-caliber pistol three times at Nunes, wounding him each time.

Nunes, who had pleaded innocent to a 47-count indictment, pleaded guilty Monday to one felony, unlawful use of a weapon, and two misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person. As a result of a plea bargain, the other charges were dropped.

Morgan ordered Nunes into the residential center for 120 days and back into jail until the center has an empty bed. He also ordered three years’ probation and said Nunes must undergo evaluation.