Driver Claims Self-Defense in Shooting

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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.


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  1. Jon Smith says:

    The guy is a former Marine and a mixed martial artist AND owns Northwest Training Center and had to shoot the guy then claimed self defense. Seems this happened several years ago in Eugene, where the owner of a martial arts studio shot and killed an unarmed kid who was jockey boxing his van. Wonder if this is the same guy, hmmmmm.

    1. Chris Aitken says:

      Dewars ATA…hardly the same guy as he would have been like 17.

  2. mikael Blomquist says:

    Well because of the facts if you get in an auto acident with Mr. Strebendt you should consider your life in danger and shoot him before he can shoot you.

  3. Dianne says:

    How can this be deemed self defense? One person was armed…the other wasn’t. One person is a professional weightlifter—fighter—-twenty years younger etc. Sad sad sad

  4. joker says:

    This just goes to show you that a marine can’t solve anything without a gun.

  5. Joe Deister says:

    I know Gerald and he is very level headed guy. He is not the same guy that was involved years ago in Eugene. If you look at the vehicles Crofut defiantly ran into Gerald. Situation appears to me that Gerald called 911 since Crofut was way out of line. As a gym owner and martial arts practitioner you train to only go to the level needed to stop the situation. If someone uses there car as a deadly weapon you know they are capable of a lot more. More than likely we will all see Geralds actions justified.

  6. Staci says:

    I call B.S. on Strebendt! A trained fighter should not need a gun against an unarmed person. Perhaps Strebendt should look into his own road rage issues, huh? Apparently he is living up to his nickname though! (“The Finishing Machine”.)

    1. Chris Aitken says:

      I love how most of you are jumping to conclusions. Let the police conduct their investigation and save your hateful conclusions until they figure out which party is legally at fault.

      I hope I never have to defend myself in this city or county. Seems so many of you would rather the police come to sort out my remains than to permit me a chance to survive a dangerous encounter with the help of a firearm.

      1. Staci says:

        Nothing hateful about what I said, just my opinion.

  7. Andrew says:

    Come on!! You expect just because Mr. Strebendt knows and practices martial arts that he would leave his life in danger to prove he is stronger that some enraged lunatic? If a credible person from society says his life was in danger and the incident happened with Mr. Crofut outside his vehicle, There is reason to believe this incident was justified. Every life threatening situation can be solved without violence but onlookers don’t get to decide which party involved pushed it passed that point.

  8. C. says:

    Absolutely ridiculous that he “had” to use a gun for “self defense”, even though he is trained in MMA and a Marine–and against an unarmed person! If the guy was out of his vehicle, you can’t say he was “using his car as a weapon”. Ridiculous.
    He should be arrested for shooting and killing another human!

  9. Robbin says:

    I don’t understand how a man that has no gun be shot and killed, from a man with a gun ! this is WRONG! in so many ways. If this was one of us we would be in jail until proven innocent, not innocent until proven guilty.

  10. Staci says:

    Did you know the victim? Were you at the scene? Just wondering, since you claim he was an “enraged lunatic”.

  11. John White says:

    Come on folks! Give it a rest and wait until the investigation in completed and all the facts in. Otherwise you might injure yourself jumping to conclusions. Rest assured SPD and the DA’s office will get to the bottom of this and take appropriate action based on the facts.

    When you are in possession of all these facts then you can opine all you want and maybe have some credibility. Right now it is just pure speculation and guessing.

  12. BoBo says:

    So if somebody runs into your truck so you shoot him? What if a 16 year old girl gets mad and hits my tuck can I shoot and kill her because I was “Scared for my life? Or maybe I can just hold her down until the cops come? You state that “people who know nothing should not jump to conclusions” Maybe I know much more about this case then you? Maybe I don’t? The Registered Guard stated that he called 911 AFTER he shot and killed Crofut, If he’s so worried for his life why not call 911 BEFORE you get out of your truck? Why did he get out of his truck with a gun? Stay in your car and call 911 if Crofut this big scary monster. Maybe drive away while calling 911? Think about this, What if Mr. Strebendt ran into Crofut?. Maybe Crofut was cut off and made to run into his truck? We need to look at all possibilities!
    I’m 100% behind gun rights and own and carry one myself and in class they teach you that the very last resort is to pull your weapon. Not your first choice!
    We’ll all have to agree that more then one life is gong to be destroyed. It’s a sad it even happened.

  13. Corinne says:

    Strebrendt is obviously a hot head! Who shoots a person in the back of the head if it is self defense? Get real, this is a case of bully in a bad mood and F.Y.I. witnesses claim the pick up was weaving in and out of traffic just like a road raging maniac. GO FIGURE!

  14. 32 Ford says:

    Just because someone is found unarmed after they have been shot, does’t mean they are not dangerous. Nothing has been said anywhere here about this Crofut guy. Did he say he was armed, if he did and it being dark, any reasonable person would assume their life is in danger. Also, all this background data on the shooter, yet none on Crofut?? Did he have a history of this same type behavior, was he drunk (wife said that had been at a bar), what is his criminal background??? I am a former Marine Officer, Vietnam Veteran, have a license to carry concealed and I do, just for incidents such as this. Semper Fi

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