2 Hermiston coaches killed in shooting, teen also dead

Police aren't searching for other suspects

Kenneth Valdez (left) and James Huston were found dead in Hermiston on August 18. (Hermiston PD)

HERMISTON, Ore. (KOIN) — Two high school wrestling coaches and a 14-year-old boy are dead after what investigators believe is a murder-suicide in Hermiston.

Investigators say Jason Huston, a volunteer coach at Hermiston High School, shot and killed 14-year-old James “JJ” Hurtado before going to the home of Kenneth Valdez. There, Huston killed Valdez, shot a 35-year-old woman and then turned the gun on himself.

The 35-year-old woman, not yet identified by police, was taken to the hospital. Detectives say Huston and the woman had been in a relationship.

Neighbors are shocked by what happened in their small community. Alyna Acevedo heard the gunshots.

“It was just a pop pop,” Acevedo said. “We thought it was the kids playing around. We couldn’t distinguish as a gunshot or anything and then we saw the cop pull up.”

Police also knew Hurtado had been missing since Thursday morning, when police say Huston picked him up to play disc golf.

“I immediately had a bad feeling. We just started sending messages out, getting information out to anybody who would hear,” Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan told KOIN 6 News. “But I did have a kind of sinking feeling something bad might have happened.”

Hurtado was found dead in a remote area outside of the town Thursday night.

“When you have kids it kind of hits you in the heart and you don’t see a reason behind it,” Rowan said.

“We’re just shocked,” said neighbor Antonio Zamudio. “The whole community is shocked. It feels like the town is paralyzed. Life is not going to be the same.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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