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Investigators: No evidence Kevin Peterson Jr. fired gun at Clark County deputies

Investigation contradicts court documents filed Friday in the fatal October shooting

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter

Investigators reported Tuesday there is no evidence, at this time, that Kevin Peterson Jr. fired his handgun at pursuing Clark County sheriff’s deputies during the deadly Oct. 29 confrontation in Hazel Dell.

Deputies shot and killed the young Black man from Camas following a planned drug sale of 50 Xanax pills between Peterson and a confidential informant outside a Quality Inn motel, according to court records filed Friday.

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

Court records cited evidence that suggested Peterson, 21, not only had a Glock 23 .40-caliber handgun but that he fired two rounds at deputies. Sheriff Chuck Atkins had also previously said there was an exchange of gunfire.

However, information released Tuesday says that although Peterson pointed the handgun at deputies, no .40-caliber casings were found at the scene; one round was chambered and one was missing from the magazine.

“At this time, detectives do not have evidence that Peterson fired the handgun while in the US Bank lot, based on involved deputy interviews” a news release states.

The city of Battle Ground, which has been tasked with releasing information about the investigation, released the new details late Tuesday afternoon, including the identities of the officers who fired their weapons.

The news release says that interviews with all of the involved officers have been completed; it cites the interviews for the delay in updates.

The officers who fired their weapons were:

  • Deputy Jeremy Brown, 46, a 14-year veteran of the sheriff’s office assigned to the regional drug task force.
  • Detective Robert Anderson, 42, a 13-year veteran of the sheriff’s office assigned to the regional drug task force.
  • Deputy Jonathan Feller, 46, who has been with the sheriff’s office for 2½ years and works patrol. (The news release notes he has about 14 years of law enforcement experience in South Dakota.)

Efforts to reach civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who’s representing Peterson’s family, were unsuccessful Tuesday night.

Investigation continues

According to the investigation, on the night of the shooting, task force deputies were attempting to purchase Xanax from Peterson, who was driving a Mercedes. The deputies had previously identified Peterson through his Snapchat profile.

The task force deputies identified the vehicle and Peterson when he pulled into the Quality Inn parking lot; they were driving unmarked cars but turned on their emergency lights to contact him, the news release says. They were also reportedly wearing tactical vests bearing identification as law enforcement.

The deputies told investigators they tried to contact Peterson, but he immediately ran from the car. They ordered him to stop, but he kept running and dropped a handgun, according to the news release.

Peterson was ordered not to retrieve the handgun, but he picked it up and continued to run away, according to investigators. The deputies ended their pursuit due to Peterson being armed, and they called for backup.

Investigators say radio traffic indicated that Peterson walked south, carrying the gun in his hand while continuing around the motel before exiting through a tree line. Then, he walked south through the US Bank parking lot.

Deputies contacted Peterson near the southeast corner of the US Bank property and ordered him to stop. Anderson told investigators that Peterson now had a cellphone in his hand, the news release says.

“Peterson did not comply with commands, turned north and pulled the handgun out of his sweatshirt pocket,” the news release reads. “Deputy Anderson ordered Peterson to drop the gun, but Peterson continued northbound. Deputy Anderson told investigators he believed Peterson was a threat to the public and to the containment units coming in from the north.”

Anderson reported that he fired his weapon at Peterson, who was headed north toward incoming deputies; Feller told investigators Peterson pointed a gun at him while running, and Feller fired his weapon at that time, according to the news release.

Video from the bank, according to investigators, showed Peterson fall to the ground and then “sit up and point a handgun,” the news release says. Deputies reported that Peterson was pointing the weapon at Brown who, along with Anderson, fired their weapons.

“Deputy Brown advised investigators that by the time he fired, Peterson was pointing the handgun at him, and Deputy Brown did not know if he had been shot,” the news release reads.

Following the volley of bullets, deputies reportedly continued to order Peterson to drop his gun. Peterson eventually set it down and made some movements, investigators say.

The news release does not say how many times Peterson was shot. The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office said he died of multiple gunshot wounds, but the agency did not offer further information about his wounds.

Deputies relayed that there had been a shooting and requested assistance, including additional law enforcement to approach Peterson with a shield, “due to Peterson having a handgun within reach,” the news release says.

They made contact with Peterson about five minutes after the shooting, and medical aid was provided to him at that time. An iPhone and the Glock were in Peterson’s possession, the news release states.

Peterson purchased the handgun from a relative in August, according to investigators.

Investigators say they have conducted numerous interviews, including civilians in the area and law enforcement officers who responded to the call. They have also collected video evidence from businesses in the area.

A search warrant was executed on Peterson’s vehicle last week, in which law enforcement found several pre-packaged amounts of pills that were presumptively identified as Xanax.

The investigation is ongoing.

Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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