Man shot at mining camp headed home after four operations

A Gold Hill man, shot at close range by an miner outside Kerby this month, will be home soon after enduring multiple operations as surgeons attempt to save his arm. But it may take up to six months to determine if the surgeries were a success, friends say.

Gregory Glen Graybill's right arm was severely damaged after taking a nearly point-blank blast from a 12-gauge shotgun. The 53-year-old carpenter encountered 61-year-old miner Ronald Eugene Spears as Graybill was off-roading on public land on April 5 with a group of friends.

The blast created massive muscle, bone and nerve damage between Graybill's shoulder and his elbow, says Karren Claassen, Graybill's girlfriend. Her partner is recovering from his fourth operation, which took place Monday at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

He is in good spirits and expected to return to his Sardine Creek home this weekend. But there is no guarantee the surgeries will obviate the need for an amputation, she said.

"The doctors said if he doesn't have any movement in his hand after six months, they will take the arm off and leave about a four- to six-inch stump," Claassen said.

Spears faces charges of first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. He could face mandatory minimum prison sentence of seven and a half years if convicted of the Measure 11 assault charge, said Josephine County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Mulkins. He remains in jail on $75,000 bail.

Graybill was riding in a caravan of six trucks April 5 on a rugged gravel road about two miles west of Highway 199 in the Canyon Creek area in Josephine County. The group came upon a camp with two tents and what they thought was an abandoned truck parked on the roadway. They encountered Spears. He and Graybill clashed, and Spears ultimately shot Graybill, police reports say.

— Sanne Specht

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