DA: Suspect fired at Salem officer before deadly shooting; 1 pound of meth found in suspect’s car

Image of suspect vehicle in deadly officer-involved shooting in Salem. (KPTV)

SALEM, OR (KPTV) - The Marion County District Attorney’s Office released new details Monday about a deadly officer-involved shooting in Salem late last month.

Rodolfo Martinez-Cortez, 30, of Salem was shot and killed by Officer Andrew Parsons in the backyard of a home on Court Street Northeast.

A grand jury ruled Monday that Parsons was justified in his use of deadly force.

The investigation began the morning of Oct. 29, when Parsons saw a speeding car that was spray-painted white with no front license plate. The car was going around 80 mph, but the officer did not initiate a chase due to the daytime traffic congestion in the area of State Street.

The information was relayed to other officers to help locate the car.

The suspect eventually crashed at 17th and Court Street, which is a residential area. A witness reported seeing Martinez-Cortez rummaging in the passenger compartment of the car, before running away.

Parsons said he also saw Martinez-Cortez rummaging through the compartment of the car and emerge carrying an unidentified black object in his hand. The suspect slipped and Parsons said he then identified the object as a handgun.

Martinez-Cortez was ordered to get on the ground, but instead ran into the backyard of a home, according to a DA’s office report. Parsons entered the backyard with his duty pistol removed from the holster.

Parsons reported seeing Martinez-Cortez pointing his gun at Parsons, while Martinez was positioned near a small tree and behind small shrubbery, with Parsons was fully exposed.

Investigators said Martinez-Cortez fired at Parsons, who was grazed on the ankle. Parsons returned fire and shot 27 rounds at Martinez, according to the investigators.

A security camera captured audio of the confrontation, with Parsons yelling “Get on the ground,” followed by gunfire, and then Parsons yelling, “Let me see your hands,” before more gunshots.

No video that showed the shooting was recovered by police.

The exchange of gunfire lasted 16 seconds. Martinez-Cortez was shot seven times and pronounced dead at the scene. Parsons was not injured, besides the bullet grazing his ankle.

A black semiautomatic .45 caliber pistol was found near Martinez-Cortez’s body. Investigators said it had an open slide, indicating all its ammunition had been fired. Bullets recovered at the scene were consistent with Martinez-Cortez and Parsons firing at each other, according to investigators.

One bullet was recovered from the interior of a nearby home, and it was consistent with the ammunition used by Martinez-Cortez and consistent with the trajectory of Martinez-Cortez shooting at Parsons, according to the DA’s office.

Preliminary toxicology results showed Martinez-Cortez tested positive for amphetamines, according to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.

A warrant was served on the car Martinez-Cortez was driving and police said one pound of meth and empty baggies were found in the trunk, along with one unspent bullet and drug paraphernalia in the passenger compartment. Additionally, Martinez-Cortez was carrying more than $1,000 in cash.

The Grand Jury applied the facts of this case to the legal principles dictating circumstances when deadly physical force can be used, according to the DA’s office. Specifically, the Grand Jury found that Parsons reasonably believed the following:

  • That Rudy Martinez-Cortez had committed and attempted to commit felonies involving the use or threatened use of physical force against a person;
  • Deadly physical force was necessary to defend a peace officer or another person from the use or threatened imminent use of deadly physical force;
  • Rudy Martinez-Cortez had committed felonies or attempted to commit felonies and under the totality of the circumstances existing at the time and place, the use of such force was justified, and;
  • The officer’s life or personal safety was endangered in the particular circumstances involved.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(6) comments

Worst PDX Mayor Ever

27 rounds? That is just plain awesome. I mean, not the best shooting %. I mean, Chris Dudley's free throw % was slightly higher, but the fact that Officer Parsons reeled off 27 rounds at the perp, is just stellar. No trial, no plea deal..good night now. And dems, you wanna tear down the wall and invited more of THIS into our country and pay for their healthcare while you're at it? You people are just a bunch of mensas.

dickey

libs are goofy, no doubt about it. Anti-gun for lawful citizens, willing to allow criminals to wreak havoc on innocent people.

This was an excellent outcome! We need to see a lot more of it!

dickey

Excellent outcome.

Merlin

So sad, Governor Kate lost a buddie.

dickey

A buddy that didn't even vote for her. Herr Brown is a disgrace to the state of Oregon.

dickey

One who didn't even vote for her.

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