Students witness officer struggle with suspect before shooting

Students witness officer struggle with suspect before shooting »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - Marco Vasquez saw the start of the deadly confrontation between a police officer and a man on an dirt bike Wednesday.

"I'm still kind of taking it in a little bit, because you don't see somebody get killed every day," said Vasquez, 16.

Around 2:45 p.m., Vasquez saw a school resource officer he knows as "Officer John" had a motorcyclist pulled over.

Police said it was routine traffic stop.

At the scene, the motorcycle did not have visible licensing.

Vasqeuz said Officer John had the suspect put his hands in the air.

"He got a knife from him. It was 9 or 8 inches and he put it on the ground," he said.

In that split second, Vasquez said, the suspect fled on foot.

"The guy took off," he said.

Vasquez said Officer John sprang into action. "He called in for a lockdown of the school on his radio, I noticed, on his school radio, and he tossed it down, tackled the guy in the grass."

Students and staff were told to stay in place, no one in or out.

"They kept announcing: Don't leave, don't go out. Stay in this classroom," student Violet Fritsch said.

Teachers reminded students of the possible severity of the situation.

"Our teacher kept going over stuff like the Columbine shooting and all these other different shootings - why he was so serious about it," Jaron Williford said.

As students waited, Vasquez's 18-year-old cousin Jessiesaid he was outside with him, watching Officer John and the suspect.

"It just escalated quickly. They were wrestling on the ground," he said.

Vasquez said his first instict was to help Officer John. "Then I noticed the suspect actually had a gun in his hand and officer john was holding it down."

Police haven't confirmed if the suspect fired a shot - but they have confirmed he was armed.

Vasquez said he heard a shot go off. He quickly backed away and ran to his car.

"When I got in my car, a few more shots got off and I turned around and I'm glad to see Officer John got up and not him," Vasquez said. "Like I'm not trying to say anything bad about the suspect because I don't know him personally but it was definitely good to see that Officer John was OK."