What caused this father to snap?
A dashboard camera in a state trooper’s car has captured the dramatic moment a father taking his children on a road trip pulled out a gun and shot an officer who then returned fire and killed him.
John Van Allen, 34, was driving with three of his children when he was pulled over on Interstate 84 east of Portland, Oregon by Trooper Matt Zistel, 26, for speeding.
But what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop soon escalated into violence when Van Allen emerged from the car and, despite Zistel urging him to get back inside, pulled out a gun.
The dramatic footage was released to The Oregonian after a public information request from the paper following the August 29 death.
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 McLeod concluded 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.