Benton Co. deputy wounded in gunfight heads home from hospital

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) A Benton County deputy has been released from a Corvallis hospital five weeks after he was wounded in an exchange of gunfire.

Sgt. David Peterson and another law enforcement officer were shot on Aug. 11 while searching for Demecio Cardenas, who ran into heavy brush after crashing a stolen car just south of the Benton-Polk county line, authorities said.

A tracking dog located a man, and the gunfight followed. Cardenas, Peterson and Cpl. Andrew Connolly, of the Salem Police Department, were all wounded.

Connolly was treated and released on the night of the shooting. Peterson, 32, was shot twice in the leg and once in the lower abdomen during the Aug. 11 gunfight.

Sgt. Peterson's father, Dan Peterson, told the Corvallis Gazette-Times that the recovery has been complicated and painful.

"He's looking forward to going home, and he has a long recovery ahead of him," Dan Peterson said Monday. He declined to provide more details, citing his son's wish for privacy.

The Benton County district attorney said officers were justified in their use of force.

Cardenas, a fugitive from California, pleaded not guilty from his hospital bed last month to charges of attempted aggravated murder and other felonies.

He has since been released from the hospital and is in the Multnomah County Jail in Portland. His Benton County trial is scheduled to start Oct. 22.

The shooting was only the second involving law enforcement in Benton County in recent memory.

Peterson has been with the sheriff's office for six years.

"We are very pleased that Sgt. Peterson has recovered enough to be released from the hospital and begin healing at home," Sheriff Diana Simpson said. "We look forward to the day when he has made a complete recovery and can return to work."


Information from: Gazette-Times

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.