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Feb. 2, 2023

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Boy shot by Vancouver police allegedly threatened people with knife before shooting

Clayton Joseph, 16, slashed at two adults and threatened them, according to police

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter

Clayton Joseph, the teenage boy who was shot and killed by a Vancouver police officer Tuesday night, threatened two people with a knife prior to the shooting, according to the Vancouver Police Department.

Witnesses reported that S. Mate Joseph, 22, assaulted a pregnant female in the parking lot of an apartment complex on the 1200 block of Southeast Ellsworth Road before the shooting, according to a Sunday press release from the department. The female was barefoot, screaming, crying and attempting to get away from the older Joseph, the release said.

While waiting outside for police to arrive, two adult residents who reported the incident were confronted by Clayton Joseph, 16, according to the release. Clayton Joseph, angry that they had called 911, slashed at them and threatened them with a knife, forcing one of them to jump out of the way to avoid being stabbed, the release said.

When officers arrived just after 11 p.m., a stun gun was used on S. Mate Joseph, who was arrested on suspicion of fourth-degree assault-domestic violence, according to the release.

When officers encountered Clayton Joseph, he brandished a knife and refused to drop it when ordered, according to the release. After he refused, Vancouver Police Cpl. Roger Evans shot him, the release said. Clayton Joseph was taken to the hospital and later died.

The Regional Major Crimes Team is continuing to investigate the incident.

Previous knife incident

Clayton Joseph was convicted earlier this year for assaulting a man with a knife, according to court records.

Armed with a large steak knife in October, he walked up to Michael Smith, whose age is not available, when he was standing in a public area near the site of Tuesday’s shooting, according to the probable cause affidavit. Joseph swung the knife toward Smith’s face without provocation, but Smith deflected the attack, the affidavit said.

As Smith’s brother and a witness called 911, Joseph walked off toward Ellsworth Elementary School, where he tried to steal a 14-year-old’s skateboard by punching him in the face and threatening to stab him with the knife, according to the affidavit. The 14-year-old was uninjured but told police he thought the assailant was going to stab him, the affidavit said.

Joseph later acknowledged to police that he intended to stab the victims, according to the affidavit. Joseph pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree assault and fourth-degree assault, according to court records. He was scheduled for sentencing March 6.

Police were familiar with Joseph before the shooting because of the October incident, Vancouver Police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said Friday.

But officers did not know the names of any of the people involved, only physical and clothing descriptions, before responding Tuesday night, Kapp said. Dispatchers also did not provide information on previous calls at the complex because a specific apartment address was not given.

Conner Bloxham, speaking on behalf of Joseph’s family, said last week that Joseph was trying to stop someone from attacking their girlfriend before the shooting.

Columbian county government and small cities reporter