WEST SALEM — Polk County Deputy Casey Gibson shot a man on July 5 during an attempt to take him into custody on Highway 22.
The man, Joshua A. Bolster, 29, of Salem, was transported to the Salem Hospital where he died from his injuries.
According to reports from the Oregon State Police, Bolster had earlier been seen trespassing at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in Monmouth, harassing her.
He left the scene before Monmouth officers arrived, but had a confrontation with another tenant of the apartment complex, during which he reportedly pulled a knife, according to OSP reports.
Monmouth officers provided a description of the suspect and his vehicle to other local police agencies in an attempt to locate him, including that he may have been armed with a knife, according to OSP. Police had probable cause to arrest the man on charges of trespassing and menacing, according to OSP.
At about 9:45 p.m., Polk County deputies located the vehicle on Highway 22 near Doaks Ferry Road and stopped the car, OSP said. Deputies attempted to arrest the man.
During the confrontation, Gibson fired shots and hit Bolster, according to OSP.
An OSP trooper arrived on scene in response to requests for assistance by Polk County deputies after shots had been fired.
The arriving trooper took part in attempts to take Bolster, who was not complying with officers’ commands, into custody and employed less lethal means to do so, according to OSP reports.
“Less than lethal means” can define many different methods, said Sgt. Kyle Hovee, public information officer for OSP, including anything from a Taser to an impact weapon.
The exact details of the confrontation are under investigation, District Attorney Aaron Felton said.
“That’s the kind of evidence that would come before a grand jury,” he said. “That’s a key piece of evidence that the grand jury needs to hear. I’m not prepared to comment on evidence.”
Felton will schedule a review by the Polk County grand jury, but did not know the exact timeline at press time.
“We are entering witnesses, conducting a normal fact-finding process to get the best possible picture of what happened at the scene,” Felton said.
Whether or not drugs or alcohol were involved is not known yet, Felton said. An autopsy has been done, but results from the toxicology screening were not available as of press time.
The last time an officer-involved shooting happened in Polk County was in 1995 in Dallas.
Gibson is on paid administrative leave during the investigation, Garton said.
“I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation, except to say that it is a tragic situation for all involved,” he said.
Polk County’s major crimes team was contacted, per officer-involved shooting protocol, and OSP was designated as the lead agency in the investigation, which is ongoing.
Agencies who assisted on scene were Salem Fire, Falck Ambulance, Polk County District Attorney’s Office, Independence Police Department and Monmouth Police Department.