Suspect dies after high-speed chase across state lines ends with shooting


    Suspect dies after high-speed chase across state lines ends with shooting. (Photo courtesy Chris Hutchison)

    An Ontario man has died from a gunshot wound following a high-speed chase that spanned across state lines and ended with a shooting.

    The pursuit started Thursday afternoon in Nampa and ended in Ontario, after the suspect's vehicle was hit with spike strips put down by Ontario Police. Investigators determined the suspect, Victor J. Morales Zavala, was driving a stolen pickup truck. After hitting the spike strips, Idaho State Police and several Oregon law enforcement agencies followed him into the town of Ontario, where he eventually pulled over on Idaho Avenue just west of a railroad underpass and got out of the car.

    According to the Malheur County district attorney, the investigation shows that Zavala had a firearm, which at some point he held to his own head.

    Two Oregon State Troopers were the closest vehicles to the suspect at the time. A few minutes later, just before 5:00 p.m. officers reported shots had been fired. Zavala suffered a gunshot wound, and authorities began life-saving measures before he was rushed to Saint Alphonsus in Ontario. He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

    Officers from Ontario Police, Malheur County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police and the High Desert Drug Task Force all assisted with the scene and the investigation, as did Ontario Fire and Rescue and Treasure Valley Paramedics. District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe was also on scene to assist as needed.

    Officers shut down traffic for several hours. The scene was fully inspected and evidence gathered, and the road was re-opened just before 10 p.m..

    The Malheur County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation, due to Oregon State Troopers being involved in the shooting incident. The involved Troopers will be interviewed, and any dash camera footage will be reviewed as soon as possible.

    We will update this story as we learn more.

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