Police: Driver reporting crash to 911 when he shot man dead

Police: Driver reporting crash to 911 when he shot man dead
David Crofut

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Gerald Strebendt was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher reporting a car crash last Wednesday when he shot and killed the other driver, David Crofut, Springfield Police said.

The 34-year-old former professional mixed martial arts fighter has claimed self-defense in the shooting death of the 53-year-old Crofut.

Police hope to turn over the results of their investigation to the district attorney by Friday.

"We're still in the process of piecing together what happened up to the wreck and to the shooting," said Sgt. David Lewis. "No other weapons were found at the scene. Crofut was unarmed."

Strebendt's attorney, Mike Arnold, said his client had no choice but to pull the trigger in self-defense.

"He made the only decision that a reasonable person would make in that situation," Arnold said.

Crofut had just moved to Springfield from Tacoma, Wash.

Before his car collided with Strebendt's truck on Bob Straub Parkway, Crofut and his wife had celebrate him getting his Oregon driver's license, bartender Kathy Ulman said.

"Everything seemed fine and dandy," Ulman said, "and they're not here anymore. It doesn't make sense to me."