Marion County Sheriff’s Office arrests man on campus
By Anna Maria Cobb and Christopher Ward.
On Feb. 25, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man in Bldg. 2 after being pepper-sprayed by Chemeketa Public Safety.
Although details remain unclear, Public Safety officer Rob Denherder, who was not present during the incident, said the individual, Enrique Gudino-Flores, was lingering around the free speech table in Bldg. 2.
Chemeketa’s Public Safety report stated, “He was observed giving a female walking by a hug.”
Public Safety received a call about the incident at 1:20 p.m. Officer Dennis Kirk responded shortly afterward.
“It’s still under investigation,” Denherder said. “What we had was an individual come on to campus. He wasn’t a student. He was acting strangely over here at the free speech table. We were called. The officer responded to the person. He refused to give ID or tell us who he was.”
After the initial contact with Gudino-Flores, Denherder said he walked into the student counseling office. Kirk followed him in and told him he needed to leave the campus. Still refusing to leave, the officer placed him under arrest.
“The subject started an altercation with the officer. The officer backed off, warned him that if he didn’t comply, he was going to be sprayed. He did not comply, and he was sprayed,” said Denherder.
Denise Thompson, a Chemeketa employee in the counseling office, said, “I could see him throwing his backpack at the officer, and then he started punching him, so the officer pepper-sprayed him.”
During the scuffle in the counseling office, Public Safety contacted the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, who promptly responded.
“They actually got here very quickly,” said Denherder. “And then they took him into custody, and he was transported to jail.”
Gudino-Flores was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin and theft in relation to a second incident. He is currently lodged in the Marion County Jail.
Officer Denherder believes Gudino-Flores was one of the many in Salem experiencing homelessness and mental issues. In the last few months, Chemeketa has seen an increase in the number of homeless individuals coming on to campus.
He said all Chemeketa Public Safety officers are trained in crisis intervention, but acknowledged that it doesn’t work all the time.
The pepper spray was strong enough to force the closure of the student counseling office for the day. Katy Julian, a Bldg. 2 employee, said the spray caused her irritation in her throat.
“It filled our entire office. It was in our throats. It was pretty intense,” said Thompson.
To help with dissipating the spray, Denherder said they activated the air conditioning system to “suck everything out.”
“It’s just pepper, and it’s an irritant to the skin and the lungs. It goes away in about 45 minutes on the person that’s sprayed. Once it’s in an area, it dissipates pretty quickly, depending on the size of the building.”
After the altercation, the counseling office was closed “just as a precaution,” said Denherder. They immediately cleaned and decontaminated the area. The Advising and Counseling Center was open the following day.
If you see suspicious activity on campus, report it to Public Safety by calling (503) 399-5023.