January 6, 2014
The following is a joint news release from Lincoln County District Attorney's Office, Newport Police Department, and Oregon State Police
In relation to the standoff in Lincoln City on January 3, 2014, an Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation by the Lincoln County Major Crimes Team (MCT) and an administrative Use of Deadly Force investigation by OSP. The trooper’s name is released in this update. Additional information related to the incident approved by Lincoln County MCT and the District Attorney’s Office for release is also included.
During the incident, two fugitives sought in connection with an armed robbery in Butte, Montana, left a condominium that was under surveillance by law enforcement officers in Lincoln City. After getting into a vehicle reported to have been stolen, they were followed by officers a short distance until leaving Highway 101 and entering a parking lot where a high risk stop was attempted. After the vehicle stopped, male fugitive DALE EDWARD WALLACE, age 30, fled on foot from the vehicle armed with a firearm. Upon being instructed by law enforcement officers to stop and drop his weapon, WALLACE pointed the firearm at officers and was then struck by an OSP marked patrol vehicle driven by Trooper Adam Kowing.
WALLACE was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital before being transferred to a Portland-area hospital where he is still being treated. Wallace remains in serious condition and is in the custody of law enforcement based on felony warrants issued in Montana.
The District Attorney’s Office is contemplating criminal charges against WALLACE. The Lincoln County MCT is also in contact with agencies in Montana to further on-going investigation related to the armed robbery and other crimes alleged to have occurred in Montana.
The other fugitive, SARA JO JOHNSON, age 30, took her own life in the vehicle later that evening as law enforcement attempted to safely negotiate her surrender for several hours during the standoff in the parking lot.
An autopsy was conducted on January 6, 2014 by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office where it was confirmed JOHNSON died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Evidence obtained thus far confirms that no police officers fired their weapon during the stand-off with JOHNSON.
Kowing, age 26, has been with OSP for 5 years and is currently assigned as a patrol trooper at the McMinnville Area Command office. He is also a member of the OSP SWAT team and was in the area to assist following a request for OSP SWAT member response.
Placing a trooper on paid administrative leave is a standard procedure during Use of Deadly Force investigations. Using a vehicle by a law enforcement officer to intentionally strike another person, which is very rare, is considered use of deadly force. It is the policy of OSP to use the force that is necessary and reasonable to bring an incident under control, while protecting the safety of the officer or other persons.
Newport Police Department is leading the multi-agency investigation into the events surrounding the January 3, 2014 incident. Once the separate and mandatory investigation into the use of force by Trooper Kowing is completed by the Lincoln County MCT, it will be forwarded to the Lincoln County District Attorney's Office for review.
Investigators are asking that any witnesses to the events that occurred on January 3rd to please contact Newport Police Department’s recorded tip line at (541) 574-5455 and leave a message with contact information. Investigators will review and contact potential witnesses during the next several days.
No other information to be released at this time pending the ongoing investigation.