At approximately 9:00 a.m., on January 23, 2023, Salem Police Department officers were involved in a deadly use of force incident resulting in the death of a suspect.
Officers responded to the Walmart parking lot, located at 5250 Commercial Street SE. Initial dispatch information indicated that there was an armed robbery and carjacking in progress at that location. Additional information was then relayed that the suspect was now north of Walmart at the Planet Fitness parking lot and that he attempted to steal another vehicle at that location. As officers responded, the suspect then fled Planet Fitness on foot and ran across Commercial Street to Napa Auto Parts.
Responding officers pursued the suspect, who matched the description from the calls, to the parking lot of the Napa Auto Parts Store, located at 5105 Commercial Street SE. A confrontation ensued and the suspect fired at least once at officers. At least one patrol vehicle was hit in the windshield. Officers also fired and the suspect was struck and died at the scene.
A black handgun was later located under the suspect and a loaded magazine was located inside his pocket.
No bystanders, citizens, or officers were injured in the incident. The Salem Police Officers involved in the incident 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.
The suspect has been identified as Michael James Compton, 27 years old. Next of kin have been notified. A Family Services Coordinator from the Marion County District Attorney’s Office has been made available to the decedent’s family to answer their questions and communicate appropriate information from the investigation.
Compton was found to have multiple warrants for his arrest out of Clackamas and Lane counties.
Officials say the incident remains an active investigation. The scene is still being processed and additional investigation is occurring. Therefore, no additional information will be released to preserve a grand jury’s objective analysis of the incident.
All suspects are considered innocent until any/all charges are proven true against them in a court of law.