A man shot and killed early Monday by a Salem police officer was identified today as 22-year-old Dru Garret Larson.
Criminal records show that Larson had convictions for theft in Marion and Tillamook counties and identity theft, forgery, sex abuse and failure to register as a sex offender in Polk County.
An autopsy confirmed the cause of Larson's death to be gunshot wounds sustained during his confrontation with police, according to the Marion County District Attorney's Office.
Oregon State Police are investigating the shooting. ..Source.. by Alison Barnwell, The Oregonian
Family: man shot by Salem police was "sweet, kind, loving"
Jane Larson stood at northeast Salem intersection tonight with tears in her eyes and her hand over her mouth, trying not to be physically sick.
Piles of glass and a muddy tire treadmark in the grass showed the spot where her son, Dru Garret Larson, was fatally shot by police early Monday.
“I’m going to miss him so much,” Jane Larson said. “If I had my way, I wish it was me not him. I would change places in a heartbeat.”
Dru Larson, 22, was fatally shot by Salem police early Monday, Marion County Deputy District Attorney Matt Kemmy said. An autopsy performed by the Oregon State Medical Examiner determined Larson died of gunshot wounds, Kemmy said.
Larson was allegedly driving a stolen car about 1 a.m. Monday when he was spotted by police. A three-minute chase ensued through downtown Salem at speeds of 30 to 50 mph.
The stolen 1989 Honda Civic eventually crashed into a stop sign at the corner of Liberty and Grove streets NE. But the crash didn’t stop Larson, who kept driving and hit at least one other car, officials said.
Police said the driver’s “subsequent actions placed officers at the scene in imminent danger,” resulting in officers Rogers Smith and Laura Seefeldt firing their duty weapons. No new information about what happened immediately before the shooting was released Tuesday.
Witnesses said the driver put the car in reverse and apparently was headed toward police officers.
Photos of the suspect vehicle show bullet holes in the windshield. Officers provided emergency medical aid, but Larson died at the scene.
His family is trying to piece together what happened leading up the shooting. They went to the scene Tuesday night, seeking closure.
They called Dru Larson sweet, kind and loving. He liked football, video games and fixing up cars.
Dru Larson had two sisters and a brother. He grew up in Tillamook and graduated from Tillamook High School in 2007, said his sister, Brandi Larson, of Dallas.
“We’ve gotten more than 100 text messages from (people in) Tillamook,” Jane Larson said. “He will be missed.”
He moved to Salem in 2009 to be closer to family and to get out of the small-town lifestyle.
Dru Larson was homeless, but stayed with Brandi Larson and his mom at times. He spent the last five days of his life with his sister, Brandi Larson.
“He always told me, chin up,” she said.
Dru Larson struggled with a methamphetamine addiction, but had been clean for three weeks before the shooting, according to Jane and Brandi Larson.
“That’s why we can’t imagine this,” Jane Larson said. “It doesn’t make sense.”
Dru Larson never carried weapons, they said, questioning why officers used deadly force.
“My son, I feel, was a victim,” Jane Larson said. “And until I find out the whole truth, I won’t rest.”
Larson has about 10 prior misdemeanor convictions in Marion, Polk and Tillamook counties. In April 2011 he was convicted of identity theft, a felony, in Polk County and sentenced to probation and community service.
The officers involved in the Monday shooting have been put on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after an officer involved shooting.
Senate Bill 111 establishes a procedure after officer-involved shootings. The Monday incident is being investigated by Oregon State Police and the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.
Kemmy said information on the incident will go before a grand jury, which will determine if charges are necessary and whether the officers were justified in using deadly force.
Smith has been a Salem police officer since 2006. Seefeldt was hired with the department in 2000, after working as an Independence police officer for about six years.
Smith previously was cleared in an officer-involved shooting that wounded Salem man Rockne Mack Nickell in March 2007. Nickell allegedly threatened neighbors with a knife and confronted police with what turned out to be a pellet gun.
According to a state police investigation, Smith thought he was shooting Nickell with his Taser, and instead fired his gun. ..Source.. by Stacey Barchenger, Statesman Journal