Oregon police release footage of highway shootout


Oregon State Police Thursday released a dramatic video showing the gun battle that unfolded in August on Interstate 84 about 100 miles east of Portland, ending in the death of a Portland motorist.

The freeway confrontation lasted only moments, according to the patrol car video from the Aug. 29 episode. The video, released to The Oregonian after a public records request, starts as Trooper Matt Zistel stops a Cadillac driven by John Van Allen, 34. Allen had three of his children with him that afternoon as he pulled over near Biggs Junction.

The video shows Allen stepping out of his car and assuming a military pose. After Zistel repeatedly tells him to get back in his car, Allen pulls a pistol from his waistband, advancing on Zistel and firing. The video doesn’t show Zistel.

After shots are fired, the video shows Allen returning to his car and driving off. He was shot in the chest but the video shows no obvious injury.

Zistel radios, “Shots fired” and then moments later,  “I’ve been hit in the side. I’m okay.”

Responding officers found Zistel suffering a gunshot wound. They found Allen’s car a half mile down the freeway, parked on the shoulder. Allen was dead, shot once in the chest.

Zistel was treated for his injury at a hospital in The Dalles and released. He has been on administrative leave. Zistel, 26, has been with the agency five years.
In a subsequent investigation, Sherman County District Attorney Wade McLeodconcluded Zistel was justified in shooting Allen.

Relatives said Allen was returning to his native South Carolina at the time of shooting. They said the aggressive action was out of character. He moved to Portland from Pittsburgh. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a construction engineer from 2009 until 2012. – oregonlive.com



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  • Pissedoffyouth

    its nuts that you can’t see the bullet, that killed him, even hit him

    • Hyped up on adrenalin. he probably didn’t realize that he’d even been hit until he was driving away, by then the shock would have kicked in and the bleeding started.

      Bloody grim situation for the poor kids in the car.

  • Whanga_Cynic

    One less loon, no great loss

  • Michael

    What did he think would happen by pulling the gun? Best case, long time in prison. Worst case, well – he got it.

    Darwin at work.

    • johcar

      Unfortunately, this is not a good example of Darwin’s Law – he had kids in the car, so he has already contributed his bad genes to the gene pool… :(

  • Jman

    Looks like the guy accidentally hit the magazine release button as you can see his magazine being ejected and hitting the ground just before he moves to the right side of the car so after that he couldn’t return fire. That might have saved the policemans life.