Salem Police killed 27-year-old Michael James Compton Monday morning following an alleged armed robbery and shootout in South Salem that closed Commercial Street near Kuebler Boulevard for hours.
According to Salem Police, officers responded to reports of an armed robbery and carjacking in progress in the parking lot of the Walmart store at 5250 Commercial St. SE at 9 a.m.
The robber fled the parking lot on foot and moved north to the Planet Fitness gym nearby where he tried to steal another vehicle before running across Commercial Street to Napa Auto Parts, according to police.
Salem officers pursued Compton, who they said matched the description from the calls, to the parking lot of the Napa Auto Parts store. The confrontation turned deadly as gunfire erupted.
Police said Compton fired “at least once” at officers. At least one patrol vehicle was hit in the windshield, police said. Witnesses on social media reported hearing at least two dozen shots fired.
Megan Barnhiser, who was in her truck with her young child and provided a witness statement to police, told the Statesman Journal a man tried to rob an armored truck outside Walmart. When police responded, she said, the man pulled a gun and began firing. Police fired back, she said.
“He shot first,” she said of the man. “I thought I was going to get shot.”
Compton was struck by one of the police rounds and died at the scene, according to Salem Police. No officers or bystanders were injured.
Police said a black handgun was located underneath Compton’s body and a loaded magazine was found in his pocket.
The Salem officers involved in the shooting were:
- Senior Officer Justin Carney, 22 years of service.
- Corporal Kristy Fitzpatrick, 14 years of service.
- Officer Reece Mathis, 1 year of service.
- Corporal Adam Waite, 15 years of service.
- Senior Robert Acosta, 17 years of service.
Salem Police, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police responded to the scene. The Marion County Law Enforcement Officer Deadly Use of Force Plan under Senate Bill 111 has been initiated for this incident, and Oregon State Police will be conducting the primary investigation.
The officers have been put on paid administrative lead, as is standard procedure.