Candlelight Vigil for Sam Mullane set for Friday, 8pm, Yachats Commons.
Facebook page conversations among Yachats residents who knew young Sam Mullane mostly indicate that he was a sweet kid who got mixed up with the wrong crowd and paid for it with his life. Mullane, 18, was fatally shot by an Oregon State Police SWAT Team that had surrounded Mullane’s house 7 miles up Ten Mile Creek Road, just south of the Lincoln-Lane County line late Thursday night.
The SWAT Team arrived at Mullane’s house based on a tip that a suspect, who was known to possess and to use deadly weapons, was inside Mullane’s house along with another man who also allegedly participated in a vicious beating of a Yachats man May 10th. Armed with a search warrant and a warrant for the arrest of Matthew Hubeny, OSP SWAT approached the house. What happened after that has not been released by authorities who say they are conducting a meticulous investigation of the exact sequence of events that took the life of Mullane, who was described as holding a rifle in a face off with the SWAT officers.
The only non-law enforcement witnesses who heard anything clearly were likely Matthew Hubeny inside the house who eventually surrendered and was arrested. Justin Wood, also implicated in the Yachats beating was likely in the house as well as an unidentified woman who was detained. Authorities say they believe Wood figured out early what was happening and ran out the back door and quickly disappeared into the woods.
Again, the Facebook conversations from young and old portray Sam Mullane as a nice kid who would give the shirt off his back for someone who needed it more than he did. Others pointed out that he got mixed up with the wrong crowd and should not have been harboring a known fugitive, Matthew Hubeny, who had a warrant for his arrest in the hands of the SWAT Team outside, who also had a search warrant to legally give them forced entry to Mullane’s home.
Here are some of many, many statements about how people in Yachats are feeling about what happened. Their comments from several Facebook pages set up allow the community deal with the loss of someone who was obviously very special to them:
“This is very sad and heart breaking losing a young soul from bad choice’s on all involved. I feel for his family and our community and the officer that was doing his job. The real crime is we live in a world where this is accepted. The police are only doing what we the citizens pay them to do. By the Grace of God lets hope this never happens again.”
“The media and the police have provided little information about the shooting of Sam Mullane. What were the circumstances of his shooting? Did he fire a shot? Was there a warrant for his arrest? The media says he came out of “a house.” The fact is he owns the house and what he did was come out of his home. During the period the police were looking for Hubeny and Wood, did they stop by Sam’s house to ask him if he had seen them? Were any of the residents of Tenmile asked if the suspects had been seen in the neighborhood. There is only one road in and out of Tenmile. Hubeny and Wood could have been apprehended leaving the valley not in a police raid that now has left Sam Mullane dead. Why raid a place at night when someone could more easily flee into the forest as apparently Justin Wood did. Or, why raid a house at night when a home owner might leave their house with a rifle on the possibility a bear is making the disturbance outside. Sam Mullane just turned 18 and many people know of the tragic circumstances of his life. Sam made wrong decisions during his short life but he shouldn’t have died at the hands of police.”
“Let us join together in the time of sorrow to: CULTIVATE peace, wisdom and love in our hearts and mind. REFLECT on the life and love that Sam lived for. PRACTICE nonviolence and help to generate loving kindness during this time of heartache in the amazing life that was lost. REMEMBER our friend who lost his life at such a young age, but also to remember the life he lived and the love he shared to people everywhere.”
“Dear Sam: we all love you ♥. I hope my father Papa Hood is somehow with you now. I know he loved you so much. You always were a bright light in the darkness. Rest in peace and know you are loved deeply ♥ ♥ ♥ Just with your smile, you made life more beautiful.”
“It’s really sad. Maybe the person who was shot was so young and scared he didn’t mean any harm. Maybe he thought it was within rights to have a gun on his own property. Just sayin’. I’m keeping his family in my thoughts for sure.”
“I keep remembering Sam at age 11 in the very first Helping Hands group. He was the one who came up with the final design for the Peace Garden behind the Commons. He had so much to offer; I am so sad that he won’t have the chance to find that for himself. What do you think about putting some kind of memorial for Sam on or in the Peace Garden?”
“I think the Idea is great, and very honorable.. Prayers and thoughts to all of His Family, and Friends,, so sorry this happened.. I didn’t know Sam, but my kids did.. And they all liked him and had good things to say about him.”
“I also think this is a great idea. Being Sam’s closest neighbor, the activities that have occurred have shook up our whole neighborhood community. Living in such a remote location, you don’t think things like this happen. He was so young with a very kind heart.”
“I think it would be beautiful to somehow get one of the bricks leading into the picnic shelter to be done in the name of Sam.”
“It would be so appropriate to have a workday dedicated to Sam’s memory. The Peace Garden could be restored and some of the problems worked through in honor of Sam. I am sure that anne and my mom would like that. Maybe a new path that corrected the flooding problem Cicely has talked about could be Sam’s path? Then the plaques for our loved ones could stay on the Garden and there would still be a coming together of the village in memory of Sam and the Hope Leon said shined in his eyes. I am so sorry for his family and for all the possibilities that stopped when he was killed.”
“Sending love and wishes for healing to everyone touched by Sam’s death. I know my heart isn’t the only one breaking, my mind isn’t the only one wracked with thoughts of “injustice” and other darkness, but may we let this lift us and our community. May we remember to take care of one another and love one another. May we remember to “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” And may we move beyond vilification and revenge, and into the space of personal responsibility to one another. Which includes holding love and compassion for everyone, no exceptions. On that note, I love you all.”
“Thank you Debbie for your kind and loving words. I remember well working with you as we reached out to Sam and his family. He was a special child with many gifts and hope shined in his eyes. It is very sad that such a life became so difficult and challenged. As sad as his passing is, let us use his life and our friendship with him to inspire and energize us in our efforts to help children and their families in our village….. and in our world.”
“This is very sad and heart breaking losing a young soul from bad choice,s on all involved. I feel for his family and our community and the officer that was doing his job. The real crime is we live in a world where this is accepted. The police are only doing what we the citizens pay them to do. By the Grace of God lets hope this never happens again.”
“This whole thing is so tragic …May all these broken hearts find strength ..All people are special and deserve to be treated with respect …in all avenues of our lives … may this peace garden serve as a symbol for each of us to cultivate Peace … to apologize for the hurts and wrongs we have inflicted on others …and to truly be a community by example not just in the empty words.”
“I am so saddened to hear about another act so terrible in our community .It seems there are some really dark energies amongst us and that energetically from the time of the cruelties of the native Americans that that has been so .As a community we can decide to stand up together to the injustices and mean spirited -ness that is amongst us .This Takes courage and an inventory of not being someone who hurts or causes pain to another …My husband and I have had many horrific experiences here … and also may wonderful ones from people who really care … I am so sorry for the grief inflicted by what seems to be a horrible injustice …My prayers are with you all and Sam at this time of transition.”
There are a thousand ways to second guess our law enforcement. SWAT was there because they had learned that Matthew Hubeny and a “person of interest,” possibly Justin Wood, involved in a vicious beating in Yachats May 10th, were both inside. It wasn’t a “neighborhood walk and talk” investigation. SWAT knew they were in there. Some say that SWAT could have intercepted Hubeny and Wood at the bottom of the hill at 101 near the bridge. Or maybe they could have boxed them in somewhere along 101. The cops could also argue that such a tactic with those who have shown a willingness to use deadly weapons, would be better corralled and controlled in a confined space, at night, SWAT with night vision, away from innocent victims. As it was, everyone could see from Eugene TV news coverage that there were many evidence markers around the front yard of the home. How many were shell casings and who fired them should become known from the investigation.
The fact that Matthew Hubeny and his mother (who was earlier arrested in Yachats) were both charged with pointing a loaded gun at the person prior to his beating May 10th, prompted the heavy SWAT Team response. Hubeny and his mom may have lived by the gun but Sam may have unwittingly died by the gun.
And…we’re waiting for more information from OSP SWAT and Lane County authorities. It make take a while.