As apart of National Police Week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been highlighting eight cases across the nation, in an attempt to bring closure to those officers killed or injured in the line of duty. One of those cases focuses on fugitive David Anthony Durham, who is wanted in connection with the 2011 attempted murder of a Lincoln City Police officer.
At approximately 11 p.m. on Jan. 23, 2011, Lincoln City Police officer Steve Dodds pulled over an SUV for a traffic violation. During the traffic stop, the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Durham, shot the officer multiple times and critically wounded him. Durham then fled the area, a police chase ensued and Durham exchanged gunfire with officers before abandoning his vehicle in Waldport. Durham disappeared and there have been no confirmed sightings since.
“This was a well-known, outstanding, veteran police officer, who was ambushed during a traffic stop,” Lincoln City Police Chief Jerry Palmer said. “He will never be the same.” Palmer stressed that it remains a priority of the department to find Durham and they are always looking for new leads.
“We haven't had any leads recently, but for months after this crime was initially committed we had hundreds of leads and all of which we tracked down, but ultimately resulted in being false leads where people were misidentified,” Palmer said.
“Those leads have dried up over the years, so we're actually a little excited to get this national coverage again because it’s a very frustratingly unsolved case that we would like to bring to a close.”
On Thursday, May 16, the FBI highlighted the Durham case on its website fbi.gov, and will showcase Durham across its national social media platforms including their Facebook and Twitter page.
Local authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Durham in Lincoln County on January 27, 2011, charging him with dozens of counts - including four counts of attempted aggravated murder. The FBI obtained a federal arrest warrant on January 29, 2011, charging Durham with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution - a federal fugitive warrant.
Since that time, the FBI has assisted the Lincoln City in the fugitive hunt by providing resources, following up on potential leads and assisting with publicity efforts. Durham is known to possess survival skills. He was wearing full green camouflage at the time of his disappearance, as well as tan or dark boots and a dark-colored beret. In the past, he has expressed a desire to travel or is believed to have traveled to California, the Caribbean and Thailand.
The FBI continues to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the location and arrest of Durham. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, by submitting a tip online at tips.fbi.gov or calling the nearest FBI office.
For Palmer and his staff, this case has been one that has brought a lot of despair to everyone involved.
“This is one that hits very close to home,” Palmer said. “It would be similar to any other family that's had a crime committed against them and looking for closure and for the perpetrator to be brought to justice and held accountable.”
Palmer said he has had a lot of people in the department that were apart of that day and have seen the impact it has had on officer Dodds and his family.
“We’ve seen the aftermath of Steve's recovery and how he ultimately had to retire because of medical reasons,” Palmer said. “It’s important to us to try to bring closure, not only for us, but for Steve to make sure that we can close this chapter out.”