SALEM -- A suspected car thief shot and killed early Monday morning after witnesses said he tried to run over an officer was identified as 22-year-old Dru Garret Larson.
The incident stared in downtown Salem at Ferry and Liberty streets about 1 a.m. The man reportedly was in a stolen 1989 Honda Civic when police began chasing him. The chase went on for about three minutes at speeds ranging from 30 to 50 mph, police said, and the suspect ran several stop signs.
The chase ended near NE Grove and 4th streets, whe the driver struck a sign and a parked car. Then, police said he refused commands which placed officers "in imminent danger," according to a prepared statement.
Shots were fired by officers Rogers Smith and Laura Seefeldt and the man was hit. He was pulled from the car and given first-aid but he died at the scene.
Photos: Scene of deadly Salem shooting
"He [the suspect] tried to get them [police] out of the way by backing up and almost running over one of the officers. And two of the officers - one was male, another a female - ended up opening fire," neighbor Chris Cuthill told KGW.
"You could see the car rocking, and all of a sudden he hit reverse and just jammed on it," said another witness, Nickie Young. ”He was coming at that one cop behind him pretty fast...He was going at him hard, once he hit reverse...and it didn’t’ look like he was willing to give up peacefully.”
Amy Mott, who also lives near the crime scene, said she heard the gunshots and a loud boom near her home.
"I don't know what crashed into what, something crashed into something and I heard, 'Get down on the ground!' and about 6 gunshots after that," she told KGW.
Mott said she was worried about her 11-year-old daughter sleeping on a downstairs couch.
"I told her to get down on the ground because I didn't know where it was coming from," she said of the gunfire.
Police closed Liberty Street, which is also 99E, at Grove. Commuters were detoured to Front Street.
The shooting was close to Highland grade school and barricades were expected to force school buses to detour.
Smith has been with Salem police since 2006. In 2007, a grand jury cleared him in a shooting. Seefeldt has been with the department since 2000.
Both were placed on paid leave during the shooting investigation, which is routine in police shooting situations.
This was the fourth officer-involved shooting in the Salem area in the past five years, but in the 3 other incidents, the suspects survived.