LINCOLN CITY, Ore. -- A manhunt was under way in Waldport for the man suspected of shooting a Lincoln City police officer during a traffic stop on a coastal highway, Oregon State Police said.
Monday morning, police said they had tracked the license plates on the suspect vehicle to David Anthony Durham, 43, of Sauvie Island. Police said they were reasonably sure Durham was their suspect in a news conference Monday afternoon. (See Durham's DMVphoto below)
The officer, identified as Steven Dodds with the Lincoln City Police Department, was shot more than one time after he pulled over a car for speeding about 11 p.m. Sunday. Dodds, 45, called in his own officer down report to dispatchers. He was later flown to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland where he was listed in critical condition Monday.
Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda said officers were doing everything they could to ensure the safety of the community, including using reverse 9-1-1 to contact residents and alert them to lock up their homes and stay inside.
He shot a police officer, he's really dangerous, Miranda said during a morning press conference.
The only description of the suspect is a white male, said Lt. Jerry Palmer of the Lincoln City police department.
A traffic stop includes a location the vehicle is pulled over and license information. Dodds car had a dash camera, Palmer said. Dodds did not fire at the suspect.
Something obviously went wrong, Palmer said.
Dramatic chase down 101
The suspect vehicle, a 1984 Dodge SUV, sped south on Highway 101. It was spotted by Newport police, and several shots were fired at officers in the chase. None were hit. A woman's car also was hit by gunfire. She was not injured.
Map: Waldport manhunt
The SUV was eventually stopped by spike strips about 11:30 p.m. on the highway at Waldport, about 40 miles south of Lincoln City. The driver fled on foot into a wooded area, police said.
A crabber was shot at by the suspect who may have mistaken him for a police officer, said Newport Chief Miranda. The crabber was trying to spotlight his pots on the water.
Officers have since surrounded an area called Bay Shore in Waldport, thinking that's where the suspect could be hiding.
Local residents were allowed to return to their Bay Shore homes Monday afternoon, but with strict instructions to lock the doors and report anything suspicious.
We're going to get him one way or another, Chief Miranda said of the gunman. We're gonna get him. It's just a matter of time.
Police seek owner of SUV
Durham's home was cordoned off and access blocked by a Multnomah County Sheriff's Office patrol car.
Newport Chief Miranda said investigators have fairly reasonable suspicion that he is directly involved . . . we want to have a talk with him.
Earlier Monday, investigators said they were trying to find Durham to confirm he is safe and question him about who may have been driving his SUV during the police shooting, according to Lt. Gregg Hastings with Oregon State Police.
Hastings said. Anyone with information about Durham's location was asked to call the Lincoln County non-emergency number (541) 265-4231.
Dodds has strong local roots
Dodds is well-known in the community and was honored as Officer of the Year in 2009 and 2010. He was surrounded by family and friends at the hospital.
A candlelight vigil was planned for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Lincoln City Community Center.
Longtime friend Tracy Burt, a Port of Portland officer, went to Newport High with Dodds, both graduating in 1985.
Great guy, Burt said Monday. Likes to travel. Funny guy.
Dodds has an 18-year-old daughter.
Police warn residents
All schools have been closed in Waldport while a search for the suspect is conducted by state police, deputies from Lincoln and Benton counties, and officers from Newport and Toledo.
Police reopened U.S. 101 in Waldport about 8 a.m. Side streets in the area remain closed.
Police have advised residents to call 911 immediately if they see anyone suspicious and not to pick up any strangers.
As of 10 a.m., police had cordoned off the Bay Shore area of Waldport, believing the suspect was possibly hiding somewhere inside. (See map below)