Slain fugitive had previous run-ins with the law

Few details offered about death of Jesse John France Jr.

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

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The man shot dead by officers Friday was an ex-convict wanted for failing to check in with his community corrections officer, according to the Washington State Department of Corrections.

He was identified Saturday as Jesse John France Jr., 29, of Vancouver. Officers shot and killed him after they approached his vehicle on foot and “the situation was escalated by Mr. France,” according to the Vancouver Police Department. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Just before 11 a.m. on Friday, officers searching for France attempted to contact him at the Addison Apartments, 7531 N.E. 18th St. in the Ogden neighborhood, according to a police bulletin. It said France rammed the officers’ unmarked police vehicle with the vehicle he was driving.

Kim Kapp, a spokeswoman with the department, declined to say how the situation escalated after France was approached by officers, or whether France was armed, saying the case is still under investigation.

The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force assisted Vancouver Police in searching for and contacting France on Friday because France was classified as being “high risk” to commit a violent crime, said Chad Lewis, a spokesman for the corrections department.

Kapp said Friday that France was a suspect in “several ongoing felony cases” and that he was believed to be armed.

France had most recently served a three-year prison sentence for possession of a controlled substance, and he was released in spring 2011, Lewis said. He stopped reporting to his community corrections officer in August.

On Dec. 18, according to a news release issued by Clark County Sheriff’s deputies, France was involved in a hit-and-run car accident near Vancouver’s Walnut Grove Elementary School, and later pulled a handgun on a witness who had followed him.

Deputies reported that they tried to stop France for speeding, and that he struck another vehicle and a telephone pole before fleeing on foot.

“The suspect threatened the witness with the gun and told him not to continue following,” according to the news release. Police dogs were unable to locate France that day.

No details were provided regarding who shot France, but “a veteran Vancouver Police Detective is currently on paid administrative leave pending completion of the investigation of the shooting,” according to the Vancouver Police Department statement released Saturday.


Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523; http://facebook.com/reportermathieu; http://twitter.com/col_politics; stevie.mathieu@columbian.com.