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March 4, 2021

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Investigation into Thanksgiving shooting complete

Case sent to the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for review

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter
Published:

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday that regional investigators have finished looking into a Vancouver police shooting on Thanksgiving and released a summary of their findings.

The case has been sent to the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review, according to a sheriff’s office news release. Prosecutor Tony Golik said he will send the case to a prosecutor outside of the county, who will determine whether the Vancouver police officer was legally justified in firing his weapon at Irving Diaz-Rodriguez, 23.

Golik said Wednesday evening that he does not yet know where the case will be sent for review.

Diaz-Rodriguez reportedly remains hospitalized in stable condition with not life-threatening injuries. Last week, during the Clark County Superior Court’s readiness docket, Diaz-Rodriguez was scheduled to appear for two separate cases. Defense attorney Katie Kauffman told the court that her client is at a PeaceHealth facility, and she has been in contact with him.

According to the sheriff’s office summary of the investigation, Vancouver police officers were dispatched at 7:04 p.m. Nov. 26 to the 2300 block of Southeast 177th Avenue for a report of a disturbance.

The person requesting a police response had texted 911, stating that his son, Diaz-Rodriguez, has mental health problems and “is out of control,” investigators said. Court records for Diaz-Rodriguez detail a long history of mental illness, specifically schizophrenia, and contact with law enforcement.

Officers met Diaz-Rodriguez’s father outside of the Fisher’s Landing East area home. He said he was fearful his son would hurt him and his mother, according to investigators.

“Irving Diaz-Rodriguez was uncooperative with officers. Officers learned his elderly grandmother was barricaded in her room inside the residence,” the sheriff’s office said.

Mobile crisis intervention responders were called to the scene; they tried to intervene, but Diaz-Rodriguez reportedly declined their help.

Officers decided they had probable cause to arrest Diaz-Rodriguez for fourth-degree assault and third-degree malicious mischief, both domestic violence-related.

However, Diaz-Rodriguez refused to come out of the house; he was observed yelling and swinging a bat inside, the sheriff’s office said. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the residence in an effort to carry out the arrest.

“Irving Diaz-Rodriguez was informed of the search warrant, his arrest, and he was given verbal warnings about the possible use of force if he doesn’t comply. He refused to exit the residence and threatened several of the officers,” investigators said.

At 11:07 p.m., officers entered the home through the garage, where they saw Diaz-Rodriguez inside the living room, holding a metal baseball bat. They gave “multiple commands,” but Diaz-Rodriguez did not comply, according to investigators.

Then, officers fired multiple rounds of 40 mm less-lethal projectiles at Diaz-Rodriguez. The rounds had little effect, according to the investigative summary. Diaz-Rodriguez shut the door to the garage, but officers reopened it and reportedly saw him moving toward the entry and swinging the bat.

Vancouver police Officer Ryne Briley, 31, the lone officer previously identified as having fired his weapon during the response, told investigators the bat nearly struck his head, and he feared for his safety.

Briley “fired multiple times with his duty pistol,” the sheriff’s office said. The summary states in its description of events that four gunshots were fired in the garage; it also says a Taser was deployed at some point.

The garage where the shooting took place was cluttered, according to investigators, and based on the number of officers inside, any kind of movement would have been restricted.

Officers entered the home and provided medical aid to Diaz-Rodriguez, including two chest seals and a tourniquet. He was taken to the hospital where he is receiving further treatment, the summary says.

Diaz-Rodriguez spoke with investigators; the summary does not indicate when or where that interview happened.

He reportedly acknowledged that “he refused to exit the house as police were instructing him and that he was told that he was under arrest. He stated he had a baseball bat and struck the TV and wall. He denied intentionally swinging the bat at officers but said he slipped when trying to close the door, and the bat accidentally swung into the garage,” the sheriff’s office said.

There was substantial damage inside the home’s living room, including a broken television, damaged drywall and a broken fireplace brick, investigators said.

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