Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Man found guilty of manslaughter for role in 2019 shooting

February 23, 2022 at 4:48pm

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Feb. 23, 2022

Health care workers work in the intensive care unit at Salem Hospital on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Covid hospitalizations in both Oregon and in Salem are falling from their peaks during the omicron surge, but remain high.

Here’s Salem Reporter’s Covid report for Wednesday, Feb. 23.

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 67 as of Wednesday, 13 fewer than Tuesday.

Of those, 8 are in the intensive care unit, and three are on ventilators. 

Forty-five of those are not vaccinated against Covid, and 22 are vaccinated. 

Salem Health does not consistently report the number of patients who have received a booster vaccine dose because of the difficulty tracking whether patients are eligible for a booster in real time, spokeswoman Lisa Wood said. The vaccinated patient count includes any patient who has received at least two doses of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 468 patients; the hospital is licensed for 494 beds.

Total people hospitalized with Covid in Region 2 (Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties): 124. Of those, 17 are in the intensive care unit and four are on ventilators.

Total Region 2 hospital bed occupancy: 91 of 99 staffed ICU beds and 696 of 711 non-ICU beds in use. 

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 107

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 27

New Covid deaths reported: 35 in Oregon

-Saphara Harrell

February 23, 2022 at 2:01pm

Learn about online safety for students at district-sponsored panel

Child abuse prevention experts will join school district workers and local law enforcement agencies for a panel discussion about online safety Thursday evening.

The event is put on by the Salem-Keizer School District and is the second in a series of three events about community and school safety. The online discussion begins at 6 p.m.

"Attendees will learn about strategies to improve awareness of what their student posts or shares online, help their student understand social responsibility and digital citizenship and prevent online threats and cyberbullying," an event description reads.

The panel will be moderated by Allison Kelley, CEO of child abuse assessment center Liberty House. It will feature Grace Caldwell, a senior at McKay High School and the student advisor to the district school board, as well as representatives from the district, SafeOregon and local law enforcement agencies.

Registration is free and open to anyone. For more information or to sign up, visit the district website.

A final event on March 30 will focus on "building a caring school community."

-Rachel Alexander

February 23, 2022 at 9:55am

Salem man found guilty of manslaughter in 2019 fatal shootings

(Caleb Wolf/Special to Salem Reporter)

A Marion County jury Tuesday found a man guilty of manslaughter for fatally shooting two people in Salem in May 2019.

Curtis Welch, 30, was indicted in May 2019 on two counts of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder in Marion County Circuit Court.

Welch was found guilty Tuesday of two counts of a lesser charge, first-degree manslaughter, in the deaths of Bradley Kelley and Michael Buntjer.

He was found not guilty of attempting to murder Coral Olfert.

Court records show no listed date for Welch’s sentencing. 

The shooting occurred around 10:15 p.m. on May 6, 2019 in the 3600 block of Northeast Joshua Avenue. Kelley was found dead at the scene, while Buntjer later died from his injuries at the hospital. Olfert, of Salem, was treated for injuries, according to a news release the day after the shooting.

Welch and his brother, 25-year-old Keonte Caldwell, were later arrested in the Roseburg area.

Both men live in the Salem area and were “known to the victims,” the Marion County Sheriff's Office said in the news release.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office the following day ruled the deaths of Kelley and Buntjer as homicides, the news release said. Both victims were 35 and lived in Salem.

A Marion County grand jury also indicted Caldwell May 10, 2019 on two counts of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder.

His trial is scheduled to begin July 19.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian