Two Police Officers and Suspect Injured During Shooting in Benton County
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247
A Benton County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) sergeant and Salem Police Department (SPD) corporal were shot and injured Saturday night in an incident involving police and an adult male following an attempt to elude law enforcement about 2 miles north of Adair Park just south of the Benton/Polk County line. The suspect also received gunshot wound injuries. Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division detectives are leading the investigation with the assistance of Benton County Major Crime Team, Keizer Police Department, Polk County Sheriff's Office, Salem Police Department, and Benton County District Attorney's Office.
Information authorized for release indicates on August 11, 2012 at approximately 10:25 p.m. an Albany-area woman called 911 to report a man armed with a gun was in her backyard. The man, who the caller said she knew, reportedly left in a possible stolen green 1994 Acura Integra two-door displaying Oregon license plates. Law enforcement agencies in the area were notified to be on the lookout for the vehicle that was subsequently confirmed stolen out of Salem. BCSO spotted the vehicle about eight minutes later and it attempted to elude deputies along Highway 20 into rural Benton County.
At approximately 10:37 p.m., the driver lost control of the vehicle at the intersection of Independence Highway and NW Springhill Drive where he abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot into heavy brush north of the intersection. Officers responded to the area to assist BCSO and established a perimeter to try and contain the suspect driver. A Salem police canine unit came to the scene to assist in finding the suspect.
As the search team with the canine started searching the area before midnight, the suspect emerged from the brush and was encountered by law enforcement officers. During the encounter, shots were reportedly exchanged between the suspect and law enforcement. During the exchange of gunfire, BCSO Sergeant David Peterson and SPD Corporal Andrew Connolly were shot. The suspect was also shot multiple times. A SPD patrol vehicle was also hit by several rounds.
Law enforcement officers from BCSO, Albany Police Department, Corvallis Police Department, Polk County Sheriff's Office, Linn County Sheriff's Office, and Salem Police Department were at the scene. Adair Fire Department personnel were also in the area.
The male suspect was seriously injured and transported by air ambulance to Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland for treatment. He is expected to survive. He has been tentatively identified as a 32-year old Hispanic male from California. His name is withheld while investigators positively identify him and make an attempt to notify next of kin.
BCSO Sergeant Peterson, age 29, was seriously injured and transported by ground ambulance to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. He is listed in serious condition. Peterson has been employed with Benton County Sheriff's Office for 6 years and was promoted to Sergeant nine months ago. He previously worked as a Reserve Deputy and Marine Deputy.
Salem Police Corporal Connolly, age 46, was transported by ground ambulance to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center where he was treated and released for a single gunshot wound. Connolly has worked for Salem Police Department for 13 years.
"Law enforcement officers are put in harms way every day, and when members of our law enforcement family are injured in the line of duty it affects our entire community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Corporal Connolly and Sergeant Peterson for a complete and speedy recovery from their injuries," said Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore.
"We consider ourselves very fortunate that both Sergeant Peterson and Corporal Connolly survived this incident and we look forward to recovery and return to their careers. We are privileged to have outstanding collaboration with all of our law enforcement partners during this incident, and we know that without them this could have had a more deadly ending," said Benton County Sheriff Diana Simpson.
Photographs of the officers are not for release at this time. Questions about involved officers should be directed to their respective agency.
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