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Two men arrested in Siletz shooting death

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Justin Werner
Justin Werner
Justin Werner is a publisher/journalist living in Lincoln City, Oregon. He strives to get all sides of a story and maintains strict ethical standards for both of the publications he oversees.
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Two Siletz residents were arrested Tuesday night in connection with the shooting death of Richard Mann, who was killed Feb. 20, on Cemetery Road in Siletz.

Multiple law enforcement agencies and the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office have been working the investigation of Mann’s death and executed search warrants at two residences in the 500 block of Tolowa Court in Siletz on Feb. 23. A vehicle and evidence were seized.

On the evening of Tuesday, March 2, two arrests were made for the homicide.

Gavin Whitehawk Epperson, 27, of Siletz, was arrested for second degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, assault and conspiracy to commit assault. He was lodged in the Lincoln County Jail with bail set at $500,000.

Gavin Whitehawk Epperson
Gavin Whitehawk Epperson

Donovan Eugene Carey-Bennett, 23, of Siletz, was also arrested on conspiracy to commit murder and assault charges. He was taken to the Lincoln County Jail with bail set at $300,000.

Donovan Eugene Carey-Bennett
Donovan Eugene Carey-Bennett

Epperson took to Facebook Feb. 25, claiming responsibility for the shooting and admitting guilt, but said it was in self defense. Epperson said him and Mann engaged in a street race that turned into road rage and a chase that ultimately led to the shooting. Epperson said he was protecting his underage passengers and that Mann pointed a handgun at one of them.

 The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians issued a statement Tuesday morning saying they were shocked and saddened at the discovery of a deceased person on Tribal lands. The Siletz Tribe said they worked closely with law enforcement during the investigation and Tribal leaders encouraged the community to cooperate with the investigation.

We encourage all community members to cooperate with law enforcement as they seek to uncover the events that lead to this tragic death. Our role is to support those who are suffering because of this senseless act and support one another. We may never know the full story, but what we can know is the extent of the love that exists in this community.

Please join us in making a commitment to hold space for each other and show everyone how this community can rise to the challenge and begin to heal. Siletz Community Health is offering programs and opportunities to connect with each other as we struggle to understand this senseless act of violence in our community.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in this investigation by the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Unit, Oregon State Police Forensics, Toledo Police, Newport Police, Lincoln City Police and the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office.

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