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‘Horrific’: Man kills 4 with ax, including baby girl

CANBY, Ore. (KOIN) — A man killed 4 people, including his infant daughter, inside his home before being fatally shot by Clackamas County deputies late Saturday night.

The sounds from a 911 call around 10:15 p.m. “were dramatic, very intense,” Clackamas County Sgt. Brian Jensen said Sunday morning. “Deputies knew it was going to be a bad scene.”

Jensen said when they arrived, one person was found dead outside the home in the 32000 block of South Barlow Road. Screams were coming from inside the house.

At that time, “the suspect was in the process of killing a child,” Jensen said. Deputies then shot the suspect to death “and saved the child.”

The victims and suspect, all residents of Woodburn, were identified as:

  • 9-month-old Olivia Lynn Rose Gago
  • 31-year-old Shaina E. Sweitzer
  • 64-year-old Pamela Denise Bremer
  • 66-year-old Jerry William Bremer

The suspect, Mark Leo Gregory Gago, was 42. 

Two people survived — a 8-year-old Hailey Grimm and an adult woman, Tracy Burbank — Jensen said. They were taken to the hospital in an ambulance with undisclosed injuries.

Neighbor Alice Burch told KOIN 6 News that Burbank said those who died are Gago’s daughter, mother, stepfather and girlfriend. She said one of the weapons used was an ax.

“It was like an ax with a hammer head on it, a long-handled type hatchet hammer,” Burch said. “He stared whaling on her with whatever he was using.”

Authorities have not confirmed that and are still investigating. 

“It was not a gun,” Jensen said. “There are numerous weapons around the house that can be used as weapons, so investigators are trying to figure out exactly what it is that he used to kill 4 people.”

A neighbor told our sister station KOIN that Burbank was a friend from high school who was staying at the Gago house. She said Gago came at her with an axe but missed and hit the bunk bed Burbank was in, the neighbor said.

Burnank said she yelled loudly inside the house and nobody responded and she thought everyone was dead, according to the neighbor who asked not to be identified.

“Obviously a very traumatic experience for her, she was pretty dazed,” the neighbor said. “She kept making comments like that it seemed like a dream.”

Officers and deputies often see brutal scenes, but Jensen said he “cannot explain just how horrific it is inside” the house.

Court documents out of Marion County show Mark Gago had been wanted for not paying child support. His last payment had been made in January 2015. He had a March 25, 2019, hearing scheduled for contempt of court. 

The Associated Press reports Gago had been arrested in August 2018 for unlawful possession of a weapon.

2015 interview

In 2015, KOIN 6 News spoke with Mark Gago at his home. His surveillance video captured a cougar prowling on his property. At that time, a cougar had been killing livestock in the area for weeks.

Gago showed the surveillance video and said, “This is a serous problem and this is something that we need to deal with it now, and if we don’t what’s going to happen next?”

The investigation

Five deputies and a sergeant are on paid administrative leave following the shooting, which is standard protocol. Jensen said he was not sure which or how many deputies fired their weapons.

The Clackamas County Major Crime Scene unit is at the scene along with the Oregon State Police, Canby PD, the Oregon City PD and the Clackamas County DA’s Office.