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News Releases
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Juveniles involved in animal abuse case referred to detention -- UPDATE -- Additional juvenile in custody (Photo) - 06/12/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  

DATE: June 12, 2024

 

Additional juvenile in custody

Update 06/12/2024 | 8:00 p.m.

Today, Salem Police Felony Crimes Unit detectives arrested another juvenile in the animal abuse case. 

A 15-year-old boy was taken into custody at his residence in northeast Salem on the following charges:

  • Aggravated animal abuse, first-degree
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Interfering with a peace officer

The juvenile was transported to the Marion County Juvenile Department. The case remains an active investigation. Anyone with information about the case can call the Salem Police Tips Line at 503‑588‑8477.

All further inquiries concerning any of the juvenile arrests made to date must be directed to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.

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Originally published 06/05/2024 | 3:15 p.m.

Juveniles involved in animal abuse case referred to detention

Salem, Ore. — In the early morning hours of Friday, May 10, officers responded to the report of a cat that was shot and killed in the 2200 block of Lee ST SE. A surveillance system recorded the incident showing several suspects involved. 

The case received much attention from the community after the cat’s owner released a video of several suspects with their pet. The recording showed one of the individuals shooting the cat several times.

Salem Police Felony Crimes Unit detectives have identified two local teens connected to that incident. The male juveniles, each 17 years of age, were referred to the Marion County Juvenile Department on Tuesday, June 4, each charged with first-degree aggravated animal abuse. One of the teens was also referred on the charge of evidence tampering.

Detectives have been investigating this incident and interviewed multiple individuals. However, the suspect who shot the animal remains unidentified and the weapon has not been recovered.

Initially, some tips were received, and detectives again ask for the public’s help to identify the primary suspect. Those with information about the case can call the Salem Police Tips Line at 503-588-8477.

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News outlets: This media release is available in Spanish here.

Investigators seek potential witness in suspicious death investigation - 06/07/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  

DATE: June 7, 2024

 

Investigators seek potential witness in suspicious death investigation

Salem, Ore. — Detectives from the Salem Police Criminal Investigations Section are currently investigating the death of a 28-year-old Salem woman. 

Just before 2:00 a.m. on May 23, emergency personnel responded to the call of a woman lying in the roadway in the 1000 block of Rural AV SE. Responding paramedics determined the woman was deceased.

The woman is identified as Carla Fernanda Vasquez, age 28, of Salem. Detectives are handling the incident as a suspicious death investigation.

Surveillance video near the area where Vasquez was found shows a passing motorist minutes before the call to police was received. A light-colored vehicle, possibly a van or mid-size, crossover SUV, is seen in the video traveling eastbound on Rural AV as it passes Church ST. Detectives ask for the public’s help in locating this potential witness. 

If you are the driver or know the person driving in the area on that early Thursday morning, or if you have information about the case, please call Salem Police detectives at 503-588-8477. 

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Video URL: salempd.info/case-24-43327

 

Agencies release joint statement on violence reduction efforts this summer -- Correction - 06/07/24

JOINT PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: June 7, 2024

 

CORRECTION 06/07/2024 | 11:45 a.m.

Please note: The quote from Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson has been corrected to accurately reflect her statement, "Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson said, “We are committed to our partnership with local law enforcement to address violence in our community. As police resources increase, so too will our prosecution efforts to ensure offenders are held accountable under the law. We must work together to stem this tide.”

Our apologies to DA Clarkson and the public for the typographical error and the misstep in communication.

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Originally published 06/07/2024 | 11:45 a.m.

Agencies release joint statement on violence reduction efforts this summer

Salem, Ore. — Six public safety partners are coordinating efforts to reduce the risk of violence in Salem during the upcoming summer months.

The collaboration between the Salem and Keizer Police Departments, the Marion County Sheriff and District Attorney's Offices and Juvenile Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation demonstrates the commitment and support to reduce violent crime in our area.

The work is part of the Community Violence Reduction Initiative (CVRI) which encompasses two concurrent efforts: community engagement to develop a community-based prevention and intervention strategy; and the immediate steps criminal justice partners are taking to curb violence.

The multi-agency partners have designed and implemented programs and systems to address the small percentage of individuals in the community who are driving the increased community violence. The ongoing work will be visible during the summer when the weather is warm, days are longer, and schools are not in session.

Deterrence, education, and trust-building are the emphasis with enforcement solely used as a tool for those who choose to engage in violence. The cooperative efforts include:

  • Visible patrols through areas identified as being at high risk for violence,
  • Identifying local government and non-profit summer youth programming to refer at-risk youth,
  • Leveraging county parole and probation services to reduce recidivism for those identified as high-risk, and
  • Increased education and trust-building opportunities through community engagement efforts

Data gathered in 2023 for a Salem gun violence problem analysis identified locations in the northeast area of the city where shootings are more concentrated and where efforts will be focused. 

Of the joint efforts, Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack noted, “Reducing community violence requires resources and a proactive approach. We are doing just that by bringing our collective resources to bear this summer to advance our efforts to deter violence and increase safety and accountability.”

Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson said, “We are committed to our partnership with local law enforcement to address violence in our community. As police resources increase, so too will our prosecution efforts to ensure officers are held accountable under the law. We must work together to stem this tide.”

Consultant Ben McBride of Empower Initiative continues to guide the CVRI community engagement activities toward a long-term, whole-of-community solution for the increased violence. Additional public meetings are anticipated in July and August to engage Salem community members through input and feedback for the overall violence reduction strategy. Meeting dates and locations will be published online when scheduled.

“Today is Gun Violence Awareness Day in Salem,” added Chief Womack, “and it’s the perfect day to remember that we are all working together—criminal justice partners and the community—to reduce shootings and violence for the safety and protection of everyone in the Salem-Keizer area.” 

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Suspect in string of bank robberies apprehended - 06/05/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  

DATE: June 5, 2024

Suspect in string of bank robberies apprehended

Salem, Ore. — Detectives from the Salem Police Violent Crimes Unit arrested a Salem man as part of an investigation into a series of armed bank robberies in Salem and Albany.

The Salem Police SWAT team served a search warrant at a residence in the 2200 block of Lee ST SE and arrested Jason Lee Welty, age 50, at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4. Welty was identified as the primary suspect in three bank robberies in Salem and one that occurred in the city of Albany.

The first incident occurred on May 21 at the Valley Credit Union, 2096 Mission ST SE. The second robbery took place two days later on May 23 at the Chase Bank, 5135 Commercial ST SE. The third incident occurred on May 28 at the Key Bank, 1500 Edgewater ST NW. A bank robbery on May 31 in Albany at the Northwest Community Credit Union, 707 Waverly DR SE, was subsequently connected to the Salem cases.

Each of the Salem robberies took place in the afternoon hours and involved an adult male suspect who displayed a handgun, demanded money from the bank teller, and left with varying amounts of cash. None of the bank employees were injured in any of the incidents.

Welty was arrested without incident and lodged at the Marion County Jail on the following charges:

  • Robbery, second-degree, three counts
  • Theft, first-degree, three counts
  • Menacing, three counts

Separate charges for Welty are forthcoming by the Albany Police Department for the crimes committed in their jurisdiction.

The Salem Police Department thanks the FBI Portland Field Office and Albany Police Department for their assistance in the investigation. 

All further inquiries about the Salem cases should be directed to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.

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Woman struck by car in west Salem dies - 05/29/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  

DATE: May 29, 2024

Woman struck by car in west Salem dies

Salem, Ore. — A west Salem resident injured in a collision with a vehicle on May 11 has died. 

The collision between the pedestrian and the driver of a van occurred at the Edgewater ST NW on-ramp to westbound Salem-Dallas HW at approximately 1:25 a.m. that Saturday morning.

Officers and medical personnel responded and aided the pedestrian, identified as 62-year-old Patricia Ann Estrada. She was transported to Salem Health with life-threatening injuries. 

The Salem Police Traffic Team’s preliminary investigation revealed that Estrada was positioned on the shoulder of the on-ramp and moved into the van's path as the driver proceeded to access the highway.

The van driver, Melodi Lynn Kraemer, age 43 of Dallas, called for police and stayed at the scene.

Estrada, who was hospitalized, died from her injuries on Sunday evening, May 26.

The incident is the fourteenth major traffic investigation this year, resulting in 14 fatalities.

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Salem Police begins preparations for its 40th year of National Night Out - 05/23/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  

DATE: May 23, 2024

Salem Police begins preparations for its 40th year of National Night Out

Salem, Ore. — The Salem Police Department has started preparations to celebrate its 40th anniversary of National Night Out in the Salem community on Tuesday, August 6.To create a stronger and safer community, the program emphasizes relationship-building among neighbors, as well as neighbors and police, through neighborhood get-togethers.

Each year on the first Tuesday in August, residents in neighborhoods all across the city organize neighborhood block parties during the evening hours. From ice cream socials to barbecues and bounce houses, neighbors gather to strengthen neighborhood ties and build community. 

For law enforcement, National Night Out is an opportunity to further trust-building efforts with residents. In Salem, police teams visit approximately 100 block parties between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to meet neighbors, share crime prevention information, and further efforts to strengthen relationships and trust.

The Salem Police Department has participated in the National Night Out (NNO) program since 1984, skipping a year during the pandemic and making 2024 its fortieth occasion of celebrating the police-community partnership.

Neighbors interested in holding a block party can register online at salempd.info/nno starting today, May 23. Registering a block party allows neighbors to notify the police department of the event time and location and select whether they want to close the street for the event or reserve a neighborhood park. 

Early registration is encouraged as street closure and park use requests for NNO must be completed by July 26.

To mark the forty-year milestone of the Salem Police program, while supplies last, each registered party will receive one commemorative t-shirt.

For more information visit the Salem Police webpage.

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Deadly crash involving a motorized scooter - 05/22/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  

DATE:  May 22, 2024

Deadly crash involving a motorized scooter

Salem, Ore. — Emergency personnel responded to the intersection of Liberty and River STS NE at approximately 9:45 a.m. today on the report of a collision involving a person riding an electric-powered chair and a car.

The initial investigation by the Salem Police Traffic Team determined a woman on a motorized chair was attempting to cross Liberty ST from east to west when she was struck by a vehicle traveling northbound on Liberty ST. Witnesses reported the scooter operator entered the roadway close to oncoming traffic when the crash occurred.

The woman operating the motorized chair is identified as Lois Marie Randall, age 70. Randall was transported to Salem Health where she later died from injuries received in the collision.

The driver of the vehicle, Jami Lee Duhrkoop, age 36, remained at the scene after the crash. Duhrkoop is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

Northbound Liberty ST between River and South STS was closed until 12:30 p.m. for investigation and clearing of the scene.

This morning’s traffic fatality is the thirteenth to occur in Salem since the start of the year.

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Detectives arrest one and seize drugs, dozens of guns while executing search warrant (Photo) - 05/22/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  

DATE: May 22, 2024

 

Detectives arrest one and seize drugs, dozens of guns while executing search warrant

Salem, Ore. — An Aumsville man was arrested as part of a search warrant served early Tuesday morning, May 21. 

Joseph Wallace Blades was arrested without incident at his home in the 11000 block of Silver Falls HW SE after Salem Police Felony Crimes Unit detectives served a search warrant at the location with the assistance of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team.

The search of the residence resulted in the seizure of approximately 250 M30 pills suspected to be fentanyl. Also seized were 36 firearms of varying types, including rifles, shotguns, and handguns, as well as body armor and ammunition. A stolen vehicle was also located on the property.

Blades, age 42, was lodged at the Marion County Jail and will be arraigned at the Marion County Circuit Court Annex on Wednesday, May 22, on the following charges:

  • Felon in possession of a weapon, firearm
  • Prohibited possession of a firearm, short-barreled shotgun
  • Possession of a stolen vehicle
  • Felon in possession of body armor

The case remains an active investigation, and given Blades’ arrest status, no further information is available for release.

We thank the Marion County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) for their help in apprehending Blades. Their assistance in the case highlights the collaborative work being done in our region by Salem Police and MCSO to remove illegal firearms from the hands of felons.

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Passenger dies in single-vehicle collision - 05/20/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  

DATE: May 20, 2024

 

Passenger dies in single-vehicle collision

Salem, Ore. — At approximately 8:30 a.m. today, callers reported a vehicle collision near the intersection of Croisan Creek RD and Roberta AV S. The Salem Police Traffic Team and other emergency responders arrived at the scene to find a car crashed into a power pole and tree leaving downed electrical line across Croisan Creek RD. 

The preliminary investigation by the Traffic Team revealed the driver of the car, Richard Gary Brunkal of Salem, was traveling southbound on Croisan Creek RD when he was unable to maintain control of the vehicle. The compact crossover car he was driving left the right shoulder of the roadway and sheared off a utility pole and struck two trees before stopping.

Officers performed lifesaving measures for the passenger before paramedics arrived; however, the passenger, Judith Ann Brunkal, age 84 of Salem, was pronounced deceased.

The 82-year-old driver is cooperating with the investigation. No arrest or citations have been issued at this time.

Croisan Creek RD between Heath ST and Mockingbird DR was closed for the crash investigation and to allow for repairs by Portland General Electric (PGE) crews.

As of 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, Croisan Creek RD remains closed with street access available to those residences in the area.

Today’s early morning traffic fatality is the twelfth in Salem for 2024.

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