Deadly shooting in Bush’s Pasture Park prompts South Salem High School lockdown

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — South Salem High School went into lockdown as Salem police investigated the shooting of three people in the Bush’s Pasture Park area Thursday afternoon.

Authorities closed the entrance at Lefelle Street as an active search commenced at the park Thursday afternoon, according to a post on social media. By Thursday evening, nearly eight hours of police gathering evidence at the scene has left officers still looking for the shooter.

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Officers arrived to High Street SE and Leffelle Street around 1:45 p.m. to find three people had been shot and one of them had died.

“I was talking to some neighbors and suddenly heard 15-20 shots coming from the south end of Bush Park,” said Tom Sieg, a witness. “Suddenly there’s 30-40 police cars arriving, fire trucks, ambulances.”

The age of the man shot has not been released, though police did say the two other victims were juveniles. An investigation is ongoing.

“We lived here for almost 13 years it’s been relatively quiet,” Sieg said.

In an email to parents, officials at South Salem High School said that while they are “beginning to deescalate our condition,” the school will “remain in a heightened level of security until further notice.”

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No students or staff members have been harmed.

“We thank our families, staff and students for their continued cooperation and patience during this lockdown as we prioritize the safety of all within our schools,” the school said in a notice to families.

Salem police said this was a targeted shooting involving people who knew each other. This all unfolded just one day after an inaugural Community Violence Reduction Initiative aimed at preventing gun violence and violent crime.

“I was really disheartened, honestly. It was so disappointing and frustrating,” said Salem Mayor Chris Hoy.

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Both the Mayor Hoy and Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack are working on ways to break the five-year gun violence trend in the city.

“We’re focused on making sure we solve this crime, who did it,” Womack said. “But we’re gonna have to continue to communicate this conversation with our community about how we intervene and prevent future incidents.”

No arrests have been made but anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to contact Salem police. Authorities said police will be in the area and nearby schools Friday, with extra support offered to students at South Salem High School.

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