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Suspect in fatal Xanax shooting
arrested in California

The Associated Press
March 13, 2002

Craving the "intense high" of Xanax may have been a motive for murder: A man openly shot in a Portland, Oregon, USA downtown street on March 11, 2002 claimed - as he died - that he knew the murderer, and that Xanax addiction was the motive. The alleged murderer was arrested the next day, the Associated Press reports below:

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A man wanted in the shooting death of a fellow methadone patient on a downtown street was in jail Wednesday in Northern California after crashing his car on U.S. Highway 101, authorities said.

Robert E. Heinz, 34, of Beaverton, pointed a pistol to his head and threatened to kill himself after Humboldt County sheriff's deputies found him hiding in the bushes alongside the coastal highway Tuesday evening, said sheriff's Sgt. Michael Thomas.

The deputies were called to the crash scene north of McKinleyville, Calif., after motorists reported an erratic driver speeding in the northbound lanes, said Thomas.

Portland police detectives headed to Eureka, Calif., to question him, Portland police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz said.

A murder warrant for Heinz was issued Tuesday. It alleged that he shot Richard Ballantine at close range and casually walked away before being chased by a crowd near Pioneer Courthouse Square just before noon Monday.

Ballantine, 42, died at a hospital after telling witnesses that he knew Heinz from a methadone clinic, and he wanted Xanax, a tranquilizer used for anxiety disorders which is favored by some methadone users because it gives them an intense high.

Heinz was on parole after being released from prison on a weapons charge last year. Witnesses said he was driven away in a silver Ford Taurus after the shooting.

Portland police said they questioned the woman driving the car but did not arrest her. She was described as an acquaintance of Heinz.

Besides the weapons charge, a review of state correction records by KGW-TV showed Heinz has convictions for assault and drug violations.

Cris Crawford, who works in a building near the shooting scene, was among the first to help Ballantine as he lay wounded on Broadway, the main street running through downtown.

Crawford told a television station that Ballantine said he knew the shooter from Allied Health Services, a downtown methadone clinic.

Xanax is the same drug favored by President Bush's niece, Noelle.

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