Updated 8:10am Saturday
A Montana couple, both with prison records and wanted for robbing a Butte Montana Card and Coins store in Butte Montana, were cornered in Lincoln City Friday afternoon. In the end, the young woman was dead, and her accused accomplice was in a Portland trauma center after being hit by a Lincoln City patrol car.
Police Chief Keith Kilian said the story began on Monday when Sarah Jo Johnson and Dale Wallace went into the “Cards and Coins” shop in Butte, MT. They tied up the elderly owner, cleaned out his cash and stole valuable coins and a number of guns. An all points bulletin went out for Johnson and Wallace who were quickly implicated in the crime after reports say a surveillance video camera playback showed them robbing the store.
Chief Kilian said his department received a phone call from Seattle FBI saying that they had received a “ping” off of Johnson’s cell phone as being in Lincoln City. Lincoln City plain clothed officers spotted the car the two were thought to be using and waited a short distance away for a search warrant for the vacation rental condominium at 31st and Inlet the two were hold up in. But before the search warrant arrived Kilian said Johnson and Wallace got into their vehicle and left the motel. Their vehicle was a stolen black Nissan Altima, with what appeared to be Washington plates.
Officers in unmarked cars followed the two for about ten blocks. Chief Kilian said they watched driver Johnson pull away from the officers which signaled to them that the two realized they were being followed. Officers executed a full felony stop – which involves drawn guns. By then they were behind the Elks Lodge, just north of the Community Center, near NE 22nd and 101.
During the stop, Chief Kilian said Wallace got out of the car and started running with a gun in his hand. Upon being ordered by police to drop his gun he quickly aimed it at an officer. An Oregon State Police officer in a patrol car saw what was about to happen and so he hit Wallace with his car, knocking him to the ground. Wallace was seriously injured. He was transported to North Lincoln Hospital and then airlifted to a trauma center in Portland.
Meanwhile Johnson was boxed in by police officers. She quickly put a gun to her head, threatening to kill herself. For a time officers tried to talk her out of it. At one point she said she would surrender. But time went by and she still would not surrender the gun. Kilian said that Oregon State Police SWAT was called in from Salem. Upon arrival they pulled up along side Johnson’s car in an armored SWAT vehicle. They put a phone into her car and tried to talk her into giving herself up. Shortly before 9pm, without warning, Kilian said she shot herself with the gun and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Below is an interview with Chief Kilian followed by some pictures of the car after the incident was over.
Johnson did prison time in Montana for physically assaulting a minor and according to news reports had a warrant out for her arrest for violating her parole. Wallace did prison time for forgery and assault with a deadly weapon.
During the standoff the nearby Lincoln City Community Center, Ace Hardware Store, Wells Fargo Bank and Dairy Queen were locked down because they were in what was called a “hot zone” for bullets, should a gun battle erupt. During the negotiation process with Johnson, all people in those buildings were safely evacuated out rear doors. However some cars parked in the area were not immediately retrieved because they were within an evidence gathering area.