Salem, OR – A Marion County grand jury has determined a Salem police officer was justified in using deadly force against a suspect who shot at him during a foot pursuit earlier this month.
The series of events leading up to the officer-involved shooting began at approximately 6:26 p.m. on Nov. 12, when a woman called Salem police to report that two men had attempted to carjack her near Hines Street and Southeast 17th Street, the Marion County District Attorney’s office said in a press release on Wednesday.
The victim, who provided police with a description of the would-be thieves’ getaway car, said she believed that at least one of the two suspects was armed with a gun.
Police immediately began searching the area for the suspect vehicle and soon spotted a car matching the description the victim had provided located in the area of Center Street Northeast and 18th Street Northeast, prosecutors said.
There were also at least two suspects inside the car who “appeared to match the description given by the victim of the suspects who had attempted to rob her,” according to the district attorney’s office.
Police said the plate on the vehicle came back to a car that had been reported as stolen in another armed carjacking that took place on Nov. 9.
When officers spotted and tried to stop the stolen vehicle on Nov. 12, the driver allegedly fled.
“The pursuit was terminated due to safety concerns,” the Marion County District Attorney’s Office said.
Officers spotted the suspect vehicle again a short while later and made a second attempt to stop it, but the driver refused to pull over another chase was initiated.
The driver eventually stopped at the intersection of B Street Northeast and 14th Street, according to prosecutors.
Three suspects immediately bailed out and took off running on foot.
“Corporal Joshua Buker ran after the suspects and yelled for them to ‘stop’ and ‘get on the ground’ however, the suspects continued running,” the district attorney’s office said.
One of the suspects allegedly began shooting at Cpl. Buker during the chase, resulting in the corporal returning fire.
No one was injured during the exchange of gunfire.
Officers apprehended two of the three suspects during the chase.
They have been identified as Vincent Nesbitt and Daren Shelton-Olson, both of whom are 19 years old, according to prosecutors.
The investigation into identifying and locating the third suspect remained ongoing.
A Marion County grand jury unanimously agreed on Nov. 21 that Cpl. Buker was justified in using deadly force against the suspects during the incident, the district attorney’s office said.
The same grand jury also indicted Shelton-Olson and Nesbitt on multiple charges.
Shelton-Olson has been charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Nesbitt has been charged with first-degree attempted murder with a firearm, first-degree attempted assault with a firearm, unlawful use of a firearm and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Both suspects are scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 28, according to the district attorney’s office.