Grand jury to look into fatal Ontario shooting

March 19, 2014 

Juan Carlos Lopez

A Malheur County grand jury will meet Thursday to hear testimony on Friday's shooting death of Dale J. Wright, 42, in the parking lot of St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Ontario.

Juan Carlos Lopez, 24, was apprehended in Nyssa a few hours after the shooting. He was charged with murder and remains in the Malheur County Jail in Vale.

Unlike Idaho, Oregon courts rarely hold a preliminary hearing. Instead, nearly all felony cases are brought before a grand jury. A prosecuting attorney calls witnesses who are questioned by the prosecutor. Grand jurors are also allowed to ask questions in the closed hearings, where neither the defendant nor defense attorneys are allowed to attend.

The grand jury can confirm the original charge, add new charges or decide not to bring any charges.

Lopez and Wright, who knew each other, arrived together at the hospital and got into a confrontation. After Wright was shot, Lopez ran over the victim as he fled the parking lot.

Wright was taken into the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lopez was located at a home in Nyssa, 12 miles south of Ontario. He was taken into custody without incident.

An autopsy was conducted on Wright's body Saturday in Portland. The results of that examination have not been released publicly.

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