Salem couple arrested for breaking into Keizer home

By Ardeshir Tabrizian – Of the Salem Reporter

Keizer detectives on Tuesday arrested two people police say broke into a house last month with another man who the homeowner shot and killed.

Cameron Wessman, 29, and Elizabeth Rogers, 25, both Salem residents, were charged Wednesday with first-degree burglary in Marion County Circuit Court, court records showed.

In the early hours of Sept. 4, a Keizer man woke up to an intruder in the living room of his house on North Mayfield Place, according to a Keizer Police Department affidavit.

Police said the homeowner with a handgun fired a single shot at the man, who fell from the living room into the garage. 

The man, who police later identified as 30-year-old Aaron Gage of Salem, died at the scene.

The homeowner then went into the garage, where he saw two other people and “ordered them to flee his property,” ,the affidavit said. The owner told police one of them was holding a machete and the other was wearing a backpack, which he told them to drop.

According to the report, the suspects left the machete and backpack and fled the house.

Court records showed no charges had been filed against the homeowner as of Wednesday.

On Sept. 8, the owner called police to report he had just seen one of the suspects who had been in his house four days prior. He said he had also seen the woman before around a house on North Stark Street.

He told police the woman was walking with a man and a baby in a stroller, and that they walked into a convenience store. 

Police viewed surveillance video of them from the store. They also learned the Stark Street address was linked to Wessman and Rogers, who were associates of Gage, the affidavit said.

On Tuesday, police interviewed Rogers, who admitted she had been with Gage and her boyfriend, Wessman, the night of the incident, according to the report.

Rogers told police Wessman had heard the Mayfield Place house was vacant “due to the tenant’s recent death,” and that he’d planned to go to the home and break in, the report said.

She said a tenant in the house shot Gage then came into the garage where she was, ordering her to drop her backpack and Wessman to drop the machete he was carrying.

Police also interviewed Wessman, who admitted he had planned the burglary, and planned to enter the house and look for valuable items, the report said.

Wessman told police Gage had knocked on the front door removing a window panel and unlocking the back door, and the three of them entered the house into the kitchen.

He told police he and Rogers went into the garage while Gage went back into the living room.

Moments later, Wessman said he saw Gage running toward the garage and heard a single shot fired from a gun before Gage fell into the garage.

Wessman told police he had the machete so he could cut through brush around the home.

He told police “he was surprised at what occurred because they believed the residence to be vacant,” according to the report.

Keizer Police arrested Rogers and Wessman Tuesday and booked them into Marion County Jail, where they remained in custody as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the jail’s roster.