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November 4, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Police: Oregon officer dies in shooting at house fire

The Associated Press

OREGON CITY, Ore. — Police in Oregon say a volunteer reserve officer has died after he was shot by an 88-year-old man they believe set fire to a house.

Authorities identified the officer as 41-year-old Robert Libke of the Oregon City Police Department.

Libke was part of a two-man team that was first to respond to reports that a man with a gun was outside a burning home on Sunday.

A SWAT team from the Clackamas County sheriff’s office killed the alleged gunman, identified Monday as Lawrence Cambra.

Investigators are trying to determine a motive but don’t believe the fire was set to lure police into an ambush.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Police said Monday that they believe an 88-year-old man set fire to his house, shot a volunteer reserve police officer and then was killed by a SWAT team.

The injured officer, 41-year-old Robert Libke of the Oregon City Police Department, was taken to a Portland hospital after the confrontation on Sunday. Officials have not released information about his condition.

Police identified the suspected gunman as Lawrence Cambra, who was one of two residents of the burned home. A woman who also lives there was uninjured.

Officials said they are still trying to determine a motive, but they don’t believe the fire was intentionally set to lure police into an ambush.

The Oregonian reported that Cambra has a history of domestic disputes.

Police and firefighters were dispatched to Cambra’s home on Sunday after reports that it was burning. The reports said a man on the scene had a handgun.

Libke and a regular deputy were first on the scene. Police say Cambra confronted Libke and then shot him. Officers surrounded the area, and neighbors and firefighters were evacuated from the area.

Josh Wenzel, who lives across the street, told The Oregonian that he saw smoke billowing from his neighbor’s house about 1 p.m. He saw the home’s resident, an older man whose name he didn’t know, go back in. Wenzel said he went to the man’s house to try to find him, but didn’t get far before a chunk of ceiling fell and the carpet caught fire.

Wenzel saw him come out of the garage, his hair singed and his white T-shirt black with soot.

“He didn’t seem to be in his right mind,” Wenzel said. “He wasn’t frantic or worried.”

He saw the man had a gun and sprinted away. He later saw an officer, with his gun at his side, yelling at the man to drop his weapon. Wenzel heard a shot and saw blood spurt from Libke’s forehead.

Libke is one of about 10 reserve officers who volunteer to augment regular staffing levels for the Oregon City police. Reserve officers complete an Interagency Police Academy in Clackamas County.

0 Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: arson, Oregon City, police offier shot

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