Marion Co. police: Man escaped before SWAT arrived

Sir Diamond Damien Gipson (Marion County Sheriff's Office)
Sir Diamond Damien Gipson (Marion County Sheriff's Office)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN 6)  — A K-9 search for the man who Marion County police now say likely escaped from a house in Salem before deputies or a SWAT unit arrived on Tuesday has turned up nothing.

A Marion County SWAT unit deploys tear gas into a house where Gipson who was believed to have barricaded himself inside, June 3, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
A Marion County SWAT unit deploys tear gas into a house where Gipson who was believed to have barricaded himself inside, June 3, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday afternoon that they are searching for Sir Diamond Damien Gipson, 20, who is described as a black man, standing 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighing 150 pounds.

Anyone with information about Gipson’s location is asked to please call 911. Authorities said Gipson is considered armed and dangerous.

All road closures put in place as a result of the SWAT’s response were lifted around 3:30 p.m., according to a Marion County Sheriff’s Office tweet.

The Marion County SWAT unit arrived after a domestic disturbance escalated Tuesday morning.

The incident in the 4700 block of Lancaster Drive NE began around 8:32 a.m. when a woman called for help, reporting a domestic violence attack. Police said deputies arrived at 8:45 a.m. The woman reportedly told the deputies she believed the man inside, Gipson, had a gun.

Authorities said responding deputies then posted someone outside the back door, as others talked to the woman, leading police to now believe the man fled before deputies even arrived.

“We can’t respond like this in masses, so I’m sure he probably ran out an open door as we were responding to the call. Initially, we believed he was inside the residence, so that’s why we responded the way we did,” said Marion County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Chris Baldridge.

A Marion County SWAT unit at the scene of a domestic disturbance, June 3, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
A Marion County SWAT unit at the scene of a domestic disturbance, June 3, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

A negotiator used a loudspeaker with Gipson in an effort to establish telephone contact.

Around 1:20 p.m., the SWAT unit attempted to deliver a phone to Gipson, and around 1:45 p.m., pepper spray was deployed into the house. A robot with a camera was then sent into the house, revealing that Gipson was not inside.

Around 2:45 p.m., officials confirmed Gipson was not in the house, but his cell phone was pinging nearby. As of 6 p.m., authorities called off the K-9 search of the area and reported that Gipson’s cell phone had been turned off.

Jeri Doton, who lives nearby, told KOIN 6 News she was very nervous.

“I hope not one gets hurt. I hope police are able to do their job and get him out,” she said.

Jay Remy with the Salem-Keizer School District said none of the schools were ever placed on lock down during the course of the SWAT standoff Tuesday afternoon.

However, any students who needed to stay late at school due to road closures resulting from the standoff were taken care of until a parent could pick them up, Remy said.

KOIN 6 News will have more information as it develops.

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