SALEM, Ore. — A Washington man hit and killed a pedestrian while fleeing from police after he was shot during an exchange of gunfire with officers Wednesday night in Keizer, Oregon State Police (OSP) reported.
Police were able to stop the vehicle and take the driver into custody after a short standoff. He was identified Saturday as 47-year-old Sean Beck of Olympia. He was taken to Salem Hospital with "several gunshot wounds" and remains hospitalized as of Saturday morning, OSP said.
The person he struck was a Salem woman named Becky Dietzel, 64.
OSP said six Keizer police officers were involved and have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure:
- Sgt. Kevin DeMarco, a 14 years with the Keizer Police Department (KPD)
- Ofc. Scott Kenistona, 14 years with KPD
- Ofc. Michael Kowash, three years with KPD
- Ofc. Jeremy Darst, three years with KPD
- Ofc. Chad Fahey, three years with KPD
- Ofc. Cody Stupfel, one year with KPD
At approximately 8:40 p.m. Wednesday, Keizer police officers responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle behind a business in the area of River Road North and Dearborn Avenue Northeast. Officers determined the vehicle was stolen and contacted two men near the vehicle. One of the men exchanged shots with the officers and drove away in the vehicle. The other man stayed at the scene and cooperated with police.
The suspect fled south on River Road and fatally struck Dietzel near the intersection of River Road North and Cummings Lane North.
"The first thing I heard was pop, pop, pop, pop. You could tell it was coming from the north end of River Road," witness Rachel Washburn told KGW. "I looked out my window, didn't see anything. Then there's more pop pop pop ... And then all the sudden from my bedroom window, I saw a vehicle fly by and a police officer right on his tail."
With the help of Salem police officers, Keizer officers were able to get the vehicle stopped near Cherry Avenue Northeast and Salem Parkway and took Beck into custody after a standoff.
OSP will lead the investigation into the police shooting and pedestrian fatality.
Following the shooting, Keizer Police Chief John Teague issued a statement that said, in part, "I think it's important to pause and observe that the greatest tragedy in this incident, by far, is the death of Ms. Dietzel."
The police chief also said the department is now "worn thin" being down six officers, adding "each of us who remain are carrying an additional load."
Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark also issued a statement:
Thank you for your wonderful support for our police and everyone impacted by the horrific events of Wednesday evening. And thank you for the kindness and compassion you have shown. Please be assured that, even with our officers on paid administrative leave as is standard practice in such situations, our police are adapting to make sure our community still has police protection and service. We all have questions want to have answered. Please bear with us as we work through the process with the other agencies that were involved and the agencies in charge of the investigation.
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