SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The man who Springfield police say shot and killed another man on Bob Straub Parkway Wednesday night is claiming self defense.
Police are investigating whether 34-year-old Gerald Strebendt was justified in his actions when he reportedly shot a man who crashed into his truck.
Officers are now asking witnesses to come forward to help them piece the case together.
Police are trying to figure out what happened between Main Street and 57th involving two Springfield drivers that night.
“It was very short in distance, and it ended in a vehicle accident between the two cars,” said Sgt. David Lewis, Springfield Police Department.
Officers say the driver of a blue car–53-year old David Crofut–hit a black truck. The crash fueled a fight outside the cars. Police say Strebendt then fired a gun, killing Crofut.
“I wouldn’t call it random at all. I would call it an incident from a dispute stemming from the accident and through some driving stuff before the accident,” Lewis said.
Crofut died at the scene. Strebendt, the alleged shooter, was never taken into custody. He says his actions were in self defense.
“You have to believe your life or the life of someone else or a third person is in imminent danger,” Lewis said.
Strebendt owns Northwest Training Center on Main Street in Springfield. He’s a mixed martial arts fighter and former U.S. Marine. Police say only one gun was found at the scene–the one they believe Strebendt fired that night. Now investigators are just trying to find out if Stebendt used it to legally defend himself.
“If someone has a claim of self defense, which means the actions they took they feel are justified, the investigation has to show those actions are justified. Sometimes we investigate things to clear some people, and sometimes we investigate to incriminate people,” Lewis said.
Police say Strebendt called 9-1-1 after the accident but before the shooting, although police would not elaborate about that call. They are asking anyone who drove by the scene during the time of the shooting to call them.