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Clark County prosecutors release big batch of investigative materials in fatal police shooting of Kevin Peterson

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

The Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on Friday released another mountainous batch of investigative materials in the fatal police shooting of Kevin Peterson Jr.

Newly released materials include audio recordings of the involved officers’ interviews with investigators, as well as witness interviews; previously released surveillance footage; photos from the search of Peterson’s car and officers’ round counts; witness photos; and a 576-page report. The report includes transcriptions of the recorded interviews.

Three Clark County deputies fatally shot Peterson, a 21-year-old Black man, after a confidential informant had arranged to buy 50 Xanax pills from him outside a Quality Inn in Hazel Dell on the evening of Oct. 29, according to investigators.

The fatal shooting occurred shortly before 6 p.m. in the parking lot of a shuttered U.S. Bank branch, 6829 N.E. Highway 99, adjacent to the motel.

Investigators concluded Peterson had committed conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance and attempted assault on law enforcement when he pointed a loaded Glock 23 .40-caliber pistol at pursuing deputies. However, he did not fire the weapon, contradicting what officers initially said.

The three deputies — Detective Robert Anderson, Detective Jeremy Brown and Deputy Jonathan Feller — fired 34 rounds, striking Peterson four times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Preliminary autopsy findings state Peterson was shot twice in the chest, once in the left arm and once in the left shoulder. The report does not state if Peterson was shot from behind or the front.

Peterson’s death has sparked tense demonstrations in Hazel Dell and downtown Vancouver decrying the killing of a Black man by police.

Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik has asked Pierce County prosecutors to review the deputies’ actions in the case, in an effort to increase independence in the investigation.

The small team of prosecutors, led by Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Jim Schacht, will review the law enforcement investigation and determine whether the involved deputies’ use of deadly force was lawful and justified. Their findings will be presented in a report to Clark County.

A spokesman for the Pierce County office said earlier this week that there is no timeline for completing the review.

“Our office has received much of the evidence, but we still await certain reports, such as the toxicology report, 3D scene analysis, etc.,” spokesman Adam Faber said in an email.

Attorneys for Peterson’s family have said they’ve hired an independent investigator, had an independent autopsy performed and requested all the video footage from the scene.

The Clark County prosecutor’s office released nearly 500 pages of investigative documents last week and plans to release additional materials next week.

Among Friday’s records release are screenshots of Peterson’s tweets over the last few months — several that reference gun violence, drug-dealing and street gangs.

One tweet from Aug. 24 reads: “Police pull me over Ima just start shooting before them.”

According to previously released records, regional drug task force members expressed concerns going into the undercover drug bust that the suspect — who had not yet been identified as Peterson — could be armed, in part, because of posts on the suspect’s Snapchat profile.

Investigative reports reference three emojis on Peterson’s Snapchat — which was used to communicate and arrange the drug sale — that depicted a handgun and explosion facing a police officer’s head.

One of the deputies who fired on Peterson later told investigators “it was determined DTF officers would handle this operation with care because it appeared the suspect advocated shooting cops.”

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