Affidavit: Man shot, killed in Salem after confronting stranger - KPTV - FOX 12

Affidavit: Man shot, killed in Salem after confronting stranger urinating on tree

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Christopher Gerberding, jail booking photo Christopher Gerberding, jail booking photo
Scene of deadly shooting in Salem. (KPTV) Scene of deadly shooting in Salem. (KPTV)

A man was shot and killed in Salem after confronting a stranger who was urinating on a tree, according to court documents.

Christopher Gerberding, 32, was arrested on charges of first-degree manslaughter and unlawful use of a weapon early Wednesday morning.

Police said he called 911 and indicated he had just shot someone. He was found near Taybin Road Northwest and Calico Street Northwest.  

Court documents state he was on his hands and knees screaming hysterically next to the shooting victim when officers arrived at the scene.

The victim, whose name has not been released by police, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gerberding was taken to the hospital for an evaluation and then interviewed by detectives. A probable cause affidavit states Gerberding told investigators he had consumed alcohol with his girlfriend at her apartment and they ended up at Wallace Marine Park, where they decided to part ways.

Gerberding said he walked away along a trail and was confronted by six people at a transient camp, according to the affidavit, and one of the transients punched him in the face.

Gerberding claimed he was told they were going to escort him off the trail and back to the park. Court documents state Gerberding told police when they reached the park area, only two of the transients were still with him and one had a metal pole.

Gerberding said they crossed a bridge toward Taybin Road and at least one of the two transients left while the other may have continued to follow him, but he could not be sure, according to a probable cause affidavit.  

The affidavit states Gerberding then began to urinate on a tree near a maintenance shed for an adjacent apartment complex when someone came up behind him and grabbed his shoulders.

According to the affidavit, Gerberding said he didn't know if it was a transient who had been following him or someone else.

Gerberding said he spun around and the man "advanced on him," so he drew his handgun from his rear waistband and fired several rounds, according to court documents.

Gerberding told police he tried to perform CPR on the man, but it was not working.

The man did not say anything to Gerberding during the incident, according to court documents, and Gerberding said he did not see the man with any weapons.

Gerberding was arraigned in court Thursday. His next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15.

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