Police chase leads to deadly shooting in Salem - KPTV - FOX 12

Police chase leads to deadly shooting in Salem

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

Oregon State Police are investigating after two Salem police officers shot and killed the driver of a stolen car.

Investigators said officers spotted a 1989 Honda Civic in downtown Salem around 1 a.m. Monday.  The car was reported stolen Sunday night.

The car took off and police chased it for about three minutes, investigators said.  Police reported the man drove through several stop signs and speeds ranged from 30 to 50 mph.

The car then slammed into a stop sign at the corner of Liberty Street Northeast and Grove Street, and crashed into a parked car, according to investigators.

"We could hear the chase flying from downtown and then we heard a couple of crashes, like he hit something," said Mark Mott, who heard the shooting.

The driver then did not listen to the officers' commands, investigators said.  Two officers then opened fire and the man died at the scene, according to police.

The driver has not been positively identified.

Police shut down traffic on Liberty Street between Columbia to Pine streets as investigators examined the scene.

"It was scary, really, really scary. I tried to stay in the house," said Brandy Nash, who lives nearby.

Investigators said the shooting involved Officer Rogers Smith, a five-year veteran with the Salem Police Department, and Officer Laura Seefeldt, who has been with the force since 2000.

Police said both officers have been put on administrative leave -- standard procedure following cases like this.

FOX 12 has learned that in 2007, Smith was involved in another officer-involved shooting.

Officials said that in that case, Smith was responding to a man threatening a neighbor with a weapon. When officers arrived, they found Rockne Mack Nickell, who appeared to be holding a handgun, which later turned out to be a pellet gun.

Smith told investigators there was a struggle and he thought he was firing his Taser when he pulled the trigger of his gun.

A grand jury reviewed the case and determined Smith's action was justified.

Oregon State Police and the Marion County District Attorney's Office are now investigating.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Oregon State Police at 503-375-3555.

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