Benton Co. sergeant, Salem officer and suspect shot after car chase
SALEM, Ore. -- A Benton County sergeant, Salem Police Department corporal and a trespassing suspect are recovering after a Saturday night car chase through Benton County ended in a shootout, the Benton County Sheriff's Office said.
Police said BCSO deputies responded to a 911 call from an Albany-area woman who said a man with a gun was in her backyard at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. The caller said she knew the suspect.
The man left the address on NW Scenic Ave in a green Acura two-door that was reported stolen from Salem. Deputies and responding Salem Police officers attempted to stop the driver as he attempted to elude the enforcement vehicles on Highway 20.
Around 10 minutes later the suspect crashed the stolen car at the intersection of Springhill Drive and Independence Highway. He fled the crash scene on foot, hiding in heavy brush near the highway.
Police said the man opened fire when they tried to search for him. They returned fire, hitting the armed suspect multiple times.
Benton County Sergeant David Peterson and Salem Police Corporal Andrew Connolly were also shot during the exchange. They were taken to local hospitals with serious injuries.
The suspect was flown by air ambulance to OHSU in Portland, officials have not yet released his status. The Benton County Sheriff's Office identified him as a 32-year-old Hispanic man from California, but is waiting to release his name until they can notify his family.
"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.
Peterson, 29, is in a Corvallis hospital recovering from his injuries. Connolly, 46, was treated and released from the hospital.
"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," said Benton County Sheriff Diana Simpson.
Albany residents are also shaken up by the officer involved shootings.
"It kind of makes you feel uneasy," said Sandy Radford, a resident on NW Scenic Drive in Albany. "There we are very protected I feel like out here, and to have something like that happen in our neighborhood is a bit scary."