Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ex-Soldier Dies After Brief Shootout With Ore. State Trooper

The AP reports – “A clip of a dashboard-camera video released to a newspaper Thursday by the Oregon State Police shows an exchange of gunfire between a motorist and a state trooper that ended with the motorist dead and the trooper wounded.

The motorist had three children in his car when the shooting occurred Aug. 29 on Interstate 84.

The Oregonian obtained the video as part of a public-records request and posted a clip of it online (

The video shows Trooper Matthew Zistel pulling over the car on I-84 and ordering a man dressed in camouflage to return to his vehicle. State police say Zistel stopped the vehicle for speeding.

The video shows the man, later identified as John Van Allen (pictured above and below), with a gun in his hand. He assumes a firing stance.

The two exchange shots, and Van Allen is shown running past the camera, then gasping and returning to his car.

He drives away, and his three children — a 10-year-old girl, and two boys ages 13 and 15 — can be seen in the back seat of his vehicle. Van Allen was later found dead inside the car a half-mile from the scene of the shooting. An autopsy showed he died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Zistel was treated at a hospital for a minor gunshot wound and released.

The Sherman County district attorney ruled in September that the shooting was justified. Van Allen’s three children have been placed in state custody.  Van Allen had previous addresses in South Carolina and Pennsylvania. 

His aunt Deborah Morton-Hamlet told the Oregonian that Van Allen and his children were on the freeway because he had decided to return to South Carolina, where much of his family is from.”

Food for thought:  My prayers go out to all involved in this tragic incident: the children of the victim, the deceased victim and Trooper Zistel, who showed tremendous bravery in the line of duty.  There are so many unanswered questions relating to what could've possibly led Van Allen to open fire on an armed police officer, yet his actions clearly indicated he had no respect for local law enforcement.  Let’s pray that other military veterans returning home from war doesn’t try to take the law into their own hands. 

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