Murder charge for man who claimed self-defense in shooting

Murder charge for man who claimed self-defense in shooting
Gerald Strebendt (Lane County Jail photo)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A former professional mixed martial arts fighter who shot and killed a man after a minor traffic crash in January was arrested Thursday evening on a murder charge.

Gerald Roy Strebendt, 34, claimed self-defense in the shooting death of David Paul Crofut, 53, after a minor traffic accident at South 57th and Bob Straub Parkway in Springfield.

The grand jury reviewed the evidence and issued a warrant for Strebendt's arrest.

Police took him into custody March 6 shortly after 6 p.m.

Officers responded to the scene of the crash on Wednesday, January 29, just before 8 p.m.

Police said Strebendt was on the phone reporting the crash to 911 at the time of the shooting.

They found Crofut's body in the street, a short distance from the two vehicles involved in the crash.

Officers located and seized a firearm.

According to police, the crash involved a new, unlicensed GMC Denali driven by Strebendt and a 2013 Nissan Rogue driven by Crofut.

Crofut had just moved to the area, according to a bartender who had served him and his wife shortly before the shooting.

Strebendt, a former Marine Corps sniper, trained athletes in mixed martial arts at his Northwest Training Center in Springfield.

"This isn't badminton or yard darts, this is punching, kicking, slamming and choke holds," Strebendt told KVAL News in 2011 for a story about a teen girl under his tutelage. "There aren't a lot of Navy Seals because they are elite. There are not a lot of female cage fighters, there just aren't."

This is a developing story. Watch #LiveOnKVAL for more on this story