OSP trooper 'justified' in Lincoln City standoff

LINCOLN CITY, Ore. -- An Oregon State Police trooper's role in an armed standoff with fugitives in Lincoln City was justified, according to investigation reports compiled by the Lincoln County district attorney's office.

Trooper Adam Kowing, 26, was driving the patrol car that hit and injured a man on Jan. 3. Police believe that suspect was on the run after a robbery in Montana. The fugitive, Dale Edward Wallace, 30, was badly hurt when Kowing’s police car knocked him over.

Kowing has been with OSP for 5 years. He is a patrol trooper based at the McMinnville Area Command office. He was in the Lincoln City area in his capacity as a member of the OSP SWAT team.

In Montana earlier in the week, warrants had been issued for Wallace and a woman named Sara Jo Johnson, both 30, Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff Ed Lester said Friday.

Lester said the two were suspected of pointing a large-caliber handgun at the owner of Coins N Cards in Butte on Monday, tying him up and stealing five guns, cash and collectible coins.

The shop owner, who is in his 70s, was able to get out of his restraints and call for help.

The FBI alerted Lincoln City police that the pair might be in town with a stolen Nissan Altima.

At 2 p.m. Jan. 3, the black car was found at a vacation condominium. Detectives kept watch and sought help from the SWAT team.

Wallace and Johnson left the condominium about two hours later, the chief said. Officers, including trooper Kowing, followed the car until it left Highway 101 and entered a parking lot.

After Wallace was shot, police negotiated with Johnson for four hours before she killed herself, Lincoln City Police Chief Keith Kilian said Friday. She had been holed up in a vehicle with a handgun for hours, surrounded by the Oregon State Police SWAT team and officers from multiple agencies.

Wallace was treated in a Portland hospital and eventually made a full recovery. He was released to authorities in Montana to face criminal charges in connection with the armed robbery.