PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Salem officer who was grazed by a bullet in the ankle during a foot chase was justified in opening fire and killing a 30-year-old Salem man in late October.
Officer Andrew Parsons was working on a traffic investigation when a vehicle crashed at 17th and Court Street NE just before 10 a.m. on October 29, Salem police said. The driver of the vehicle, Rodolfo “Rudy” Martinez-Cortez, ran from the scene. Parsons chased him and confronted Martinez in a residential backyard on Court Street NE.
Martinez had been driving a Honda Civic around 80 mph before crashing after his axle broke, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office said in a release that provided more details of the incident. Martinez then ran into the backyard of a home on Court Street NE.
Martinez fired first. That bullet traveled through Parsons’ pant leg and grazed his ankle.
A surveillance camera did not capture the video but did capture audio of Officer Parsons identifying himself as Salem police, ordering Martinez to “Get on the ground!” and “Let me see your hands!” before gunshots erupt again.
Over 16 seconds, they fired at each other. Parsons shot 27 times at Martinez, who was hit 7 times, and he died at the scene.
The grand jury heard from 7 witnesses, including civilians who saw the incident. They listened to audio recordings and looked at photographs, scene diagrams, dispatch recording and the autopsy.
Martinez was found to have amphetamines in his system. A search warrant later found about a pound of meth and empty baggies in the trunk of the Honda. The DA said Martinez had more than $1000 on him at the time of the shooting.
The grand jury determined Officer Parsons’ actions were justified.