Suspect who fled into the woods is an outdoorsman

WALDPORT — A man who fled into the wilderness along the Oregon Coast after allegedly shooting a police officer is an avid outdoorsman who designs his own camouflage clothing, his brother said Wednesday as police searched for the suspect on a small peninsula.

David Anthony Durham has evaded capture since Sunday, when police say he shot and critically wounded Lincoln City police officer Steven Dodds during a traffic stop. A three-day manhunt has turned up few clues, other than Durham's dog Huckleberry, who was found Wednesday.

Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda says it's possible Durham is holed up in a vacant coastal vacation home. Police have searched more than 250 homes but aren't searching those that are locked without the owner's permission. "He's probably waiting for us to leave, but we're not leaving," Miranda said. "Even if he is a survivalist, he can only survive for so long. He may like to eat bugs and stuff, but that gets old."

Durham's brother, Michael, said his brother liked to camp but wasn't a survivalist. He had no military background. "He wasn't some anti-government nut expecting a collapse," said his brother Michael Durham. "He had the outdoorsman skills like anybody who spends time outdoors should have."

Michael Durham says his brother lost touch with reality several months ago after taking pain medication for an injured shoulder. David Durham seemed especially struck by a recently released movie about aliens invading a remote Alaskan town, making its resident disappear. "David, my brother, had thought it was a documentary," Michael said. "It made us do a double-take."

Police issued a warrant on Tuesday for Durham, 43, on charges including attempted aggravated murder. The search has focused on a neighborhood and the woods in a peninsula in Waldport, where residents have said most of the houses are rentals or vacation homes, unoccupied during Oregon's blustery coastal winter.

Durham's acquaintances knew him as a friendly neighbor on rural Sauvie Island in Portland and avid landscaper who was also a volunteer firefighter. His landlady, Kristi Fazio, told The Associated Press that Durham was always wearing camouflage fatigues when he showed up at her door to pay the rent.

But six months ago, he was moved to "inactive service" within the Sauvie Island Fire District for unspecified emotional problems.

He started slipping deeper into a depression after a breakup, friends said, and entertained paranoid fantasies about being pursued by police.

Share This Story