Salem police kill man while responding to alleged armed robbery

By OPB staff (OPB)
Jan. 23, 2023 10:45 p.m. Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 1:18 a.m.

Police report that gunfire was exchanged and Michael James Compton, 27, died at the scene

Salem police shot and killed a man in the city’s South Gateway neighborhood Monday while investigating an alleged armed robbery.

Police closed southbound lanes of Southeast Commercial Street in Salem, on Monday, Jan. 23, to investigate a shooting.

Police closed southbound lanes of Southeast Commercial Street in Salem, on Monday, Jan. 23, to investigate a shooting.

Courtesy of Ardeshir Tabrizian / Salem Reporter

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Officers initially responded to a report of an armed robbery and carjacking at a Walmart on Salem’s Southeast Commercial Street around 9 a.m., according to a statement released by police. Police reported that the person they believe committed the robbery, based on a description from initial reports, ran to a nearby NAPA Auto Parts Store. That person has been identified as 27-year-old Michael James Compton.

Police say they confronted Compton in the parking lot where officers exchanged gunfire with Compton. According to Oregon State Police, which is investigating the killing, Compton allegedly fired at least one shot toward officers and hit a patrol vehicle. Police fired and struck Compton, though it was not initially clear how many times he was shot. He died at the scene.

State police said a handgun was later located underneath Compton and a loaded magazine was located inside his pocket.

No officers or bystanders were injured. The Salem police officers involved in the incident were:

  • Senior Officer Justin Carney, 22 years of service;
  • Cpl. Kristy Fitzpatrick, 14 years of service;
  • Officer Reece Mathis, one year of service;
  • Cpl. Adam Waite, 15 years of service;
  • Senior Officer Robert Acosta, 17 years of service.

Compton had multiple warrants for his arrest in Clackamas and Lane counties, officials said.

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