In a recent incident along Interstate 5, Oregon State Police Superintendent Casey Codding and a state police sergeant were deemed “legally justified” in firing at a murder suspect fleeing in a car with a young child during a high-speed chase, as revealed by Linn County’s district attorney.

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District Attorney Doug Marteeny stated that Codding and Sgt. Nickodemus “Orly” Johnson opened fire after suspect Elias Huizar pointed a handgun out of his car window towards Sgt. Johnson and fired at him. Codding and Johnson responded in self-defense and to protect others after attempting to stop Huizar’s vehicle that was being pursued on the freeway.

Marteeny commended the troopers for their professionalism and bravery, noting the overwhelming evidence of the threat posed by Huizar. The suspect, a former Yakima police officer, was wanted for the murder of two women in West Richland, Washington, which led to an Amber Alert being issued when he fled with his young son.

The pursuit culminated in Huizar taking his own life as troopers closed in on him further south along I-5. Despite the rapid exchange of gunfire and a subsequent crash involving Huizar’s vehicle, the 1-year-old child in the car was rescued unharmed by arriving state troopers.

The district attorney’s memo detailed the intense events during the chase, including efforts by Codding and Johnson to ensure the safety of the child in Huizar’s vehicle and the public on the freeway. The chase involved high speeds, multiple attempts to stop Huizar’s vehicle, and a tragic conclusion in Lane County where the suspect took his own life.

The investigative process also examined Codding’s use of a body camera during the incident, although his police SUV lacked a dash camera. Following the episode, Codding and Johnson were briefly on leave before rejoining their duties, with the authorities determining that their actions were in accordance with the law and necessary to protect lives.

Overall, the response by law enforcement in this high-stakes situation underscores the critical role they play in safeguarding communities and upholding the rule of law, particularly in the face of dangerous criminals like Elias Huizar.

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