Keizer police cleared in shootout, man indicted on charges


Shootout happened July 28

A screen grab from a gun battle between a suspect and Keizer police, July 28, 2021 (Courtesy: Anthony Divine)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Marion County grand jury found 5 Keizer police officers were justified in their use of deadly force against a man who shot at police and led them on a car chase – fatally striking a pedestrian in the process.

According to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, Keizer Police officers Jeremy Darst, Scott Keniston, Chad Fahey, Michael Kowash and Sgt. Kevin DeMarco will not face charges after a standoff with Sean Beck last month.

The same grand jury indicted Beck on a multitude of charges, including attempted aggravated murder with a firearm, manslaughter in the first degree and unlawful use of a firearm.

On July 28, Keizer police responded to reports of a suspicious vehicle behind a business at the corner of River Road and Dearborn Road. When officers arrived, they confronted two adult men near the car, which was determined to be stolen.

Sean Beck, August 9, 2021 (Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

The District Attorney’s Office said that officers were able to observe that a man standing next to the vehicle, later identified as Beck, had a gun on his left hip.

As police approached the vehicle, Beck got into the driver’s seat and failed to comply with commands and began shooting at the officers, who returned fire. Beck then drove away from the scene, going south on River Road, while police pursued him.

During the pursuit, a pedestrian – who was later identified as Becky Dietzel – was struck and killed as she attempted to walk across River Road and Cummings Lane intersection.

A short time later, Keizer and Salem police officers were able to stop the suspect near Cherry Avenue and Salem Parkway. A standoff ensued — but Beck ultimately surrendered and was taken to Salem Hospital due to multiple gunshot wounds.

No officers were injured during the confrontation.

Additionally, Beck is also being held on a fugitive complaint from Washington for a parole violation on a charge of attempted robbery, the District Attorney’s Office said.

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