Police identify citizen killed, deputy injured in Polk County shootout Saturday

State police on Monday identified the person killed in an early morning gunfight with police just west of Salem on Saturday as 18-year-old Isaac I. Oceguedo of Carlton.

The announcement came two days after a car chase resulted in the shootout, which left one officer injured and shut down a major Salem highway for much of the day. Police and prosecutors have released little information about the deadly shooting.

The police statement said that the suspect vehicle was also occupied by Jose M. Coral Zavala, 20, of Salem, as well as a 17-year-old girl. They did not list the current status of the two, including whether charges had been filed or a suspect reported hospitalized after the shooting remained under medical care.

Polk County District Attorney confirmed on Monday that Zavala “was taken into custody” but said he declined to provide further information.

The Oregon State Police, which is investigating the shooting, identified Polk County sheriff’s deputy Mike Smith as the officer who was injured.

Smith, an eight-year veteran of the agency, has been placed on administrative leave. County policy requires that involved officers” be placed on paid administrative leave during ongoing investigations, including any officers who fire shots or witness another officer fire.

Smith started with Polk County Sheriff’s Office as a reserve officer in 2013 and became a deputy in 2015, according to records of the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training 

“During the investigation, limited information is available for release in order to preserve the investigation itself,” state police said in the statement.

The statement wasn’t clear whether other officers were also placed on leave. In an earlier press release, the agency said that “the suspect opened fire on responding officers, striking a Polk County deputy and law enforcement officers discharged their weapons in response.” 

The investigation into the shooting closed a four-mile stretch of Oregon Highway 22 from west Salem to Doaks Ferry Road because of “law enforcement activity,” the Oregon Department of Transportation said at 3:15 a.m. Saturday. The highway was closed for over 12 hours.

Polk County Sheriff Mark Garton said on Saturday that a Polk County sheriff’s deputy was shot but is recovering “in stable condition with non life threatening injuries.”

He also said at the time that “the alleged suspect is currently at Salem Health Hospital receiving treatment and has not been charged at this point.”

But state police later that evening announced the involvement of two other suspects with little information. The agency at the time issued a general press saying only that “one suspect is deceased, another is injured and the original suspect has been arrested.” Police provided no information about the role of the dead person or how they died. 

State police at the time provided the following account of the incident.

An officer of the Independence Police Department tried to pull over a driver for a traffic stop around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday when the driver fled. 

Police stopped pursuing the vehicle by deploying spike strips, disabling it.. The suspect then fled on foot. 

Police later found the suspect, who “attempted to flee the area in another vehicle,” according to the statement. That’s when the gunfire exchange occurred, police said.

Authorities then closed the state highway to await the arrival of state investigators. The resulting roadblocks clogged traffic into downtown Salem and diverted westbound traffic onto side streets. 

This story was updated after the Polk County District Attorney’s Office provided the correct spelling of Oceguedo’s name in a news release.


UPDATE: 1 of 3 suspects killed in shootout with police in Polk County

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.