Photo by Kathy Ursprung
LT. GREGG Hastings, a spokesman for the Oregon State Police, briefs local and regional media including Mark Bailey of Bicoastal Media (facing the camera) on an officer-involved shooting east of Biggs Junction where a state trooper was injured and his apparent assailant was killed.
Celilo CELILO — Sherman County District Attorney Wade McLeod is coordinating a multi-agency investigation into a shooting where an Oregon State trooper was injured and his apparent assailant apkilled along Interstate 84 near Rufus Thursday, Aug. 29.
The trooper sustained a minor wound to his side and was transported to Mid-Columbia Medical Center. He is home and doing well today, according to The Dalles state police.
Under provisions of Oregon Senate Bill 111, which governs officer-involved shootings, the name of the trooper has not been released.
On Friday, OSP provided media outlets with the the name of the suspect who died at the scene. He is John Van Allen, 34, of Portland. He was traveling with three children who were reportedly taken into protective custody by the Department of Human Services.
Freeway traffic through the area was blocked at Biggs Junction and at Rufus. Eastbound traffic was asked to divert to Washington State Highway 14 at The Dalles. Westbound traffic was rerouted to Highway 30 at Rufus.
“The incident occurred around 12:52 p.m.,” said Hastings. “A trooper based in The Dalles office was working overtime enforcement on I-84 eastbound east of Biggs.”
The trooper stopped a passenger car at Milepost 106 for an unidentified traffic violation.
“Within a minute, the trooper radioed that shots had been fired and he was injured,” Hastings said.
The car was occupied by a male driver and three other occupants, apparently of juvenile age, he said.
“The male got out of the driver’s side, fired at least one round and the trooper returned fire with his handgun,” Hastings said.
The vehicle reportedly left the scene eastbound.
Troopers arriving in the area to assist found the vehicle stopped on the right shoulder half a mile east of the original scene.
The driver appeared to be slumped over the steering wheel and the three other occupants were still in the vehicle.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Responding agencies to this incident included OSP, Sherman County Sheriff’s Office, Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, Klickitat Count Sheriff’s Office, Gilliam County Sheriff’s Office, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, The Dalles Police Department, Hood River Police Department, Hermiston Police Department, Sherman County District Attorney’s Office and Oregon Department of Transportation.
Freeway lanes were closed until after 6 p.m. Thursday to accomodate the investigation.
McLeod could not be reached for comment.
The last officer-involved shooting in the area was Sept. 19, 2012, when two The Dalles police officers shot Jerry Stowell in response to a knife attack.
When an officer is involved in a shooting, a state-prescribed process takes effect centering on the investigation of deadly physical force.
Under the provisions of Senate Bill 111, the use of deadly force is investigated as a homicide by the county district attorney and a multi-agency task force.
The bill also requires the officer to be removed from duty for at least 72 hours.
Senate Bill 111 requires officers involved in shootings to be placed on paid administrative leave and for their names to be kept confidential until after they are interviewed by an independent investigating agency.
The law also requires each Oregon county to establish a deadly physical force planning authority, which includes the county district attorney, sheriff, a police chief, a non-administrative police officer, a representative of the public and a representative of the Oregon State Police selected by the superintendent of state police.
This authority is responsible for implementing a plan that includes education, dealing with the aftermath and other related issues.
Before the 2012 shooting, the last local officer-involved shooting was in 1999 when an officer shot a hostage-taker at a now-defunct restaurant in The Dalles.