A Lincoln City police officer is in critical condition after he was shot Sunday night during a traffic stop on Highway 101 on the south end of Lincoln City. A multi-agency search is currently underway for the unidentified suspect just north of Waldport after he fled a vehicle on foot west of Highway 101. The highway has been closed since about 11:30 p.m. between NW Sandpiper Drive and the Waldport bridge while law enforcement officers search for the armed and dangerous suspect.
According to Lincoln City Police Chief Steven Bechard, on January 23, 2011 at approximately 11:00 p.m. the 45-year old police officer stopped a 1984 Dodge sport utility vehicle for a speed violation. During contact with the unidentified white male adult driver the officer was shot more than one time. The suspect fled in the vehicle south.
The officer was initially transported to North Lincoln Samaritan Hospital and then transferred by LifeFlight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital where he is currently in critical condition. His name is being withheld at this time. Next of kin have been notified and are at the hospital with fellow officers and friends.
After the shooting, Newport police spotted the suspect vehicle and it attempted to elude officers southbound on Highway 101. While fleeing officers, the suspect fired several shots but no officers were injured.
At approximately 11:32 p.m. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deployed spike strips near milepost 153 after which the suspect stopped the vehicle and was seen fleeing on foot west from the highway into a wooded area. A reverse 9-1-1 call was made to area residents advising of the search.
Officers from Oregon State Police (OSP), Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Newport Police Department, and Toledo Police Department are searching in the area. The OSP SWAT team has responded to assist. ODOT, Waldport Fire Department, and Lincoln City Fire Department are assisting with road closures.
Investigators are seeking information to locate and interview the registered owner of the vehicle that was being operated by the suspect and later abandoned near Waldport.
The vehicle’s registered owner is identified as DAVID ANTHONY DURHAM, age 43. DURHAM is an Oregon resident described as a white male, 6’3″, 185 pounds.
Investigators have made contact with all known locations where Mr. DURHAM may be but have not located him. Investigators are releasing his name and photograph to help obtain information that will confirm he is safe and to be able to interview him to learn if he has information to help identify and locate the suspect in this investigation.
Anyone seeing anything suspicious or suspicious persons in the Waldport area is asked to immediately call 911.