Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Former valley man killed by police

Deford was suspect in 2 California bank robberies

Express Staff Writer

A former Wood River Valley resident died last week in California after being shot by police as a bank robbery suspect.

Gregory Ray Deford, 46, died in an Auburn, Calif., hospital last Thursday evening after fleeing police and being shot by a Placer County Sheriff's Department deputy. Deford was a suspect in the robberies of a Wells Fargo bank on Aug. 28 and a Bank of the West branch on Sept. 10. Both banks are in Auburn, the county seat of Placer County northeast of Sacramento.

The Associated Press reported that Deford was identified as a suspect by bank video surveillance cameras.

According to the AP, Deford fled in his vehicle when confronted by police near his home in Auburn on Thursday, Sept. 16. All four of his tires were flattened after police put a spike strip in his path and he crashed his vehicle in Colfax, Calif., about 15 miles northeast of Auburn.

The sheriff's department told the AP that Deford was shot by a deputy several times after he wouldn't cooperate or show his hands when told to leave the vehicle. The AP further reported that the shooting was still being investigated.

Originally from Twin Falls, Deford had lived in the Wood River Valley for 15 years before moving to California with his family about a year ago. His last valley residence was in the Woodside area of Hailey. He was a master finish carpenter and the owner of Deford Builders in Hailey.

"I've known him for 20 years and this is the last thing I thought could ever happen to Greg," said Hailey resident Randy Von Heuring, Deford's brother-in-law. "This is completely out of character for him. Greg has always held himself to a higher moral standard than most people."

But Von Heuring said Deford was struggling financially and unable to find work.

"He was having a bad time in this economy and I guess he took it harder than most people," Von Heuring said. "If he did do this, then he was motivated by trying to provide for his family."

Terry Smith:

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