Video shows gun battle between Oregon trooper and suspect

Video shows gun battle between Oregon trooper and suspect »Play Video
A still image from an OSP dashboard camera shows John Van Allen firing at Trooper Matthew Zistel. (Photo from OSP)

Warning: The video in this story has graphic images

As soon as Oregon State Police Trooper Matthew Zistel pulled over the Cadillac for speeding it was clear something wasn’t right.

The driver, 34-year-old John Van Allen, got out of his car and turned to face Zistel before the trooper could even bring his patrol car to a complete stop. The whole time Allen kept one arm behind his back.

“Police! Get back in the car for me,” Zistel said with an authoritative tone.

“Sir, get back in the car for me now!” Zistel repeated when Allen didn’t comply.

The exchange between the trooper and suspect was caught on Zistel’s dashboard camera. Oregon State Police officials released the video to the media Thursday afternoon. The shooting happened on August 29.

The video shows Allen continued to disobey Zistel, whose tone grew increasingly stern.

Less than 30 seconds after they stopped, Allen started walking toward the trooper. Allen then pulled out his arm from behind his back, drew a handgun from his waistband and started firing.

Zistel was shot in the side, although did not suffer a serious injury and was released from the hospital later the same day.

“Shots fired! Shots fired! 53-26 shots fired!,” Zistel yelled into his radio as Allen retreated to his own car, gun still aimed at the trooper. (53-26 represents Zistel’s unit number.)

Zistel returned fire when Allen drew his gun. Investigators said he struck Allen in the chest, although the injury is not clear in the video.

Other troopers found Allen down the road slumped over his steering wheel. He was dead.

Investigators said Allen had his three children in the car – a 10-year-old girl, a 13-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy.

The Sherman County district attorney later found that Zistel was justified in using deadly force when he shot Allen.