Work by Street Crimes Unit, City of Eugene Code Compliance, and other partners on a residential abatement process culminated in finding more than 70 firearms, some fully-automatic, and two silencers, and the arrest of Richard Aaron Eaton, age 47 on multiple charges.
For several years patrol has been responding to 480 Wilkie in Eugene. Conditions at the residence had been deteriorating and were hazardous. Code Enforcement stepped in and began the abatement process. On Tuesday, September 24, at about 1:41 p.m., Eugene Police Street Crimes Unit helped Eugene Planning and Development Code Compliance with boarding up the location. There was no water and no electricity, plus other conditions that made the house uninhabitable. There were about eight people who were there when police and code compliance arrived and many of them tried to avoid police contact.
EPD SCU followed up the abatement on September 25, assisting with the clean-up process of the residence, which included a hardworking NW HazMat clean-up crew and Eugene Code Compliance. Although the location had been boarded up the previous day, it appeared to have been burglarized during the evening. While at the location, Street Crimes developed additional information the owner of the residence, Richard Aaron Eaton, age 47, of Eugene, was in possession of fully-automatic firearms that were still hidden within the residence. Eaton had arrived at the location and was trying to get in and retrieve the firearms and SCU preventing him from entering. SCU locked the location down again and applied for a search warrant.
Once the warrant was executed within the residence on September 25, SCU located suspicious explosive items and suspicious devices and called Metro Explosives Disposal Unit (MEDU) to the scene. MEDU determined the items of concern were inert devices. The investigation continued and in total more than 70 guns were seized from the residence to include 17 suspected fully-automatic weapons and two silencers. Additional resources from patrol were called in to assist SCU. The team called the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and they responded to the scene. Eaton was not yet arrested and had left the area, so SCU continued to work the case.
On September 26, SCU and EPD Evidence Control Unit staff came in during the wee hours to process all the firearms from the search warrant. SCU was able to pinpoint a possible location for Eaton, just outside of Veneta. SWAT and EPD Crisis Negotiation Team began a planned deployment. Three SCU officers and a Special Investigations detective spotted Eaton walking along Jeans Road in Veneta and were able to get him into custody without incident.
Eaton has been charged with: 19 counts of Possession of Prohibited Firearm, Theft in the First Degree, Unlawful Possession Controlled Substance Methamphetamine.