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News / Clark County News

Man shot by Vancouver police confirmed dead

By Jerzy Shedlock, Columbian Breaking News Reporter
Published: April 29, 2020, 12:30pm

A man who was shot by Vancouver police Tuesday morning died from his injuries.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The man’s name will be released following notification of his family, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy and determine the manner and cause of death.

City officials on Wednesday released statements about the shooting by police in central Vancouver. But the investigative team looking into what happened has decided not to release more details at this time.

Three Vancouver police officers shot the man while responding to an assault at Fourth Plain Boulevard and Stapleton Road.

A physical disturbance between two men was reported about 11:10 a.m. Arriving officers found one man lying unconscious on the ground. The other refused police commands to drop sharpened objects he was holding, according to the Vancouver Police Department.

According to witnesses and emergency radio traffic monitored at The Columbian, the man was throwing pieces of sharpened pipe or construction rebar at officers just before he was shot.

Christine Selk, C-Tran’s communication and public affairs manager, said C-Tran had dispatched a security officer to a nearby Vine bus stop for a report of an intoxicated person there.

The security officer approached the intoxicated man and told him to leave, Selk said. But as the security officer turned to get his phone, the man ran across Fourth Plain and into a man pushing a shopping cart. A physical fight ensued, and the security officer called police, she said.

The identity of the assault victim has not been released, and his condition is unknown. The officers involved in the shooting also have not yet been identified.

Witnesses and video that captured the shooting and moments leading up to it largely corroborate what the police department has said about the incident so far.

Police Chief James McElvain said Wednesday that the investigation into what led to the shooting will be conducted by the Regional Independent Investigative Team, “entirely independent from the Vancouver Police Department,” as required by state law.

In February 2019, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill amending Initiative 940, a measure voters passed months earlier making it easier to prosecute police officers for negligent shootings. It updates the standard for prosecution, alters requirements for police to render first aid and requires the state to reimburse an officer’s legal fees if they are acquitted. The changes were supported by backers of the initiative and police groups.

“We will await the results of that investigation so that all evidence is considered. We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we await the results of the investigation,” McElvain said.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Brent Waddell said in an email that there is no deadline for the completion of investigations of this nature, but generally, they take two to three weeks to complete and forward to prosecutors.

Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said she and the city council understand how difficult an incident like this is for everyone involved and the impact it has on the community.
“We are saddened to learn of the news of the death of the suspect in (Tuesday’s) incident. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the deceased, and to everyone in our community affected by this event,” McEnerny-Ogle said.

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City Manager Eric Holmes said that any time a shooting by a police officer happens here, it is shocking and heartbreaking.

“On behalf of the city organization, I offer our deepest concern and compassion to all those involved. While we don’t know all the facts in the case yet, I have confidence in and look forward to the results of a thorough, impartial and independent investigation,” Holmes said.

Columbian Breaking News Reporter