Harney County Sheriff Says He Was Initially Told O'Dea Shooting Victim Shot Himself in the Back

New information casts further doubt about account of police chief's hunting accident.

New information continues to emerge about an April 21 hunting accident in which Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea apparently shot one of the members of his hunting party in Harney County.

Today, Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward broke his silence on the incident, issuing a press release on Twitter.

"Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward was initially briefed on April 22, 2016 of the shooting incident and was told that it was a self-inflicted accidental shooting," the press release says. "Further information was gathered which contradicted this and Sheriff Ward was notified on May 16, 2016 that Portland Police Bureau Larry O'Dea was involved in the incident. Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward requested assistance from the Oregon State Police on the same date he was notified of Chief O'Dea's involvement."

The press release, reported earlier by The Oregonian and the Portland Mercury, is a bombshell.

First, it appears that Ward, Harney County's top law enforcement officer, was told a different story from the account Portland Mayor Charlie Hales got.

The implication that O'Dea withheld the truth about how his friend, identified in the sheriff's dispatch report only as a 54-year-old male, came to be life-flighted to a hospital, threatens the chief's career.

Here's what the police bureau's directive say about truthfulness:

"The integrity of police service is based on honesty and truthfulness," the directive reads. "Members will not make any false statements to justify a criminal or traffic charge, or seek to unlawfully influence the outcome of any investigation."

Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson says O'Dea will make no comment until a pending internal and Oregon State Police investigations are complete.

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