Last updated: almost 2 years ago
A 27-year-old St. Helens man led Oregon State Police troopers on a high-speed chase Friday that ended in gunfire -- and his death -- at a country crossroad north of Scappoose, Columbia County authorities reported on Saturday.
Troopers assigned to the St. Helens state police office attempted to stop Josiah Max Fischer for a traffic violation at 6:38 p.m. on Friday on U.S. 30. But Fischer, behind the wheel of a black 1997 Mitsubishi, drove westbound on U.S. 30 and two minutes later turned on Millard Road.
For the next four minutes, troopers Robin May and Justin Oxenrider -- in separate patrol cars -- chased Fischer as he made a series of turns at high speed on country lanes west of the highway. Fischer aimed the Mitsubishi down Hazen Road, in the community of Warren, where the auto skidded off the pavement at Stone Road.
At 6:44 p.m., county dispatchers heard reports, presumably by police, of shots fired.
What happened next is under investigation by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, which brought in the county's Major Crimes Team to help determine whether the use of deadly force was justified.
What is clear is that at least one of the two state troopers opened fire, and that Fischer -- who died in the shooting -- appears to have had a gun.
"A firearm was recovered at the scene," Sheriff Jeff Dickerson told The Oregonian on Saturday.
Dickerson said in email exchanges with the newspaper that it was unclear whether both troopers fired on Fischer, and that the investigation will focus on whether the troopers feared that Fischer posed a threat of bodily harm or death.
— Oxenrider performed a maneuver that stopped the pursuit and ended with Fischer’s Mitsubishi in the ditch on the west side of Hazen Road.
— Oxenrider got out of his car and ordered Fischer to show his hands. Instead, Fischer pulled out a loaded gun – a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Oxenrider then fired nine shots.
— May did not fire any shots, but told dispatch shots were fired.
–They tended to Fischer and called for medical assistance, but he was already dead.
May and Oxenrider are on paid administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.