Man shot by police was on Salem's Top Ten Most Wanted list
KEIZER, Ore. - One of Salem's Top Ten Most Wanted - a man who has been on the run for nearly a year - was shot following a police pursuit on Wednesday.
It all began just before 9 a.m. in Salem near the intersection of Cordon Road N.E. and Carolina Avenue N.E. when police tried to pull over a vehicle that they knew had a wanted suspect inside.
The driver refused to stop and led police on a chase for around 13 miles. Several police agencies were involved in the pursuit, which went northbound on Cordon Road, into Brooks and ended up Keizer.
Spike strips were deployed at least once during the chase but the suspect was able to avoid them. Police ended up using their vehicles to block the driver near the intersection of Inland Shores Way North and Lockhaven Drive North.
At that point, the driver got out of the vehicle with some type of object in his hand, according to witnesses and police. Officers gave the driver commands and when he refused to comply, that's when one of the officers fired his weapon.
Police did not say how many shots were fired at the suspect, but witnesses told KATU they distinctly heard two.
"There was definitely two shots," said Scott Santana with Santana Insurance Agency, a nearby business. "I heard bam, bam and I ducked."
The suspect was transported to the hospital with unknown injuries. His condition is unknown at this point.
"He wasn't moving at all and then the cops came up and they were rolling him over and and checking him. And after that it was like he moved a little bit but the EMTs came," said Beth Mora. She also works at Santana Insurance Agency and saw the whole thing unfold from her desk.
"I got completely caught off guard because stuff like that never happens around here," said Alyssa M. Eckley, who works at Edward Jones Investments, which operates out of an adjoining office.
Eckley's office is in the rear of a building that faced the scene and she said she ran up to the front to see what was going on.
"I wasn't really worried that anyone was going to come in here (with a gun)," she said. "I was more worried about whether anyone needed help. Because I heard sirens and then gunshots. And then I went to make sure the ladies next door were OK."
Eckley and other witnesses said it all happened very fast - police chased the truck down the street, the truck stopped and a suspect got out, shots were fired and then the suspect was on the ground.
"It was like no questions asked - he got out and bam, bam - you're done," said Santana. "He had to have been showing a gun or something."
No officers were hurt during the incident and police said there were no evacuations of nearby homes or businesses. Nearby Chase Bank, however, did close following what happened.
The suspect was later identified as 29-year-old Gabriel D. Diaz of Salem. He has been on the Salem Police Department's Top Ten Most Wanted list since February of 2012.
The officer who fired at Diaz has been identified as Police Canine Officer Bruce Fineran, a 21-year veteran with the Salem Police Department. He has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
Anyone with information that can help investigators is asked to call the Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888.