Thursday, May 6, 2021
May 6, 2021

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Black Vancouver man shot by Clark County deputy dies

Jenoah Donald, 30, was taken off life support Thursday

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

A Black Vancouver man who was shot by a Clark County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop last week in Hazel Dell has died.

An attorney representing Jenoah Donald’s family said Friday morning that Donald, 30, died around 2 a.m. Family and a friend were with him.

Donald’s family had him removed from life support Thursday, a week after he was shot in the head, according to Mark Lindquist of Tacoma-based Herrmann Law Group. Donald had been in the intensive care unit at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

A Thursday morning post on the family’s GoFundMe page said that Donald’s condition had not improved, so the family decided to place him on comfort care.

“It’s still almost incomprehensible to the family that a traffic stop over a defective rear light was escalated by police to a fatal shooting,” Lindquist said in a phone interview Friday.

The Feb. 4 shooting occurred after three deputies responded around 7:40 p.m. to the area of Northeast 68th Street and Northeast Second Avenue for a “suspicious activity” call. K-9 handler Deputy Sean Boyle stopped a bronze-colored Mercedes-Benz, driven by Donald, for a “defective rear light,” an initial account of the shooting investigation states.

According to investigators and court records, Boyle wrestled with Donald in the driver’s seat of Donald’s car before firing twice, striking him once, after the car began moving forward with Boyle partially inside.

An evidence receipt filed Thursday following a search of Donald’s car showed he had no firearms inside the vehicle, and a sharp object described by one of the involved deputies, which apparently prompted the escalation, may have been a cordless Kobalt drill on the front passenger’s seat.

Court records and investigators have not indicated that Donald reached for the item at any time during the incident.

Investigators have also not said if the 911 caller who reported the suspicious activity as two vehicles circling the area had provided a description.

Local groups speak out

On Friday, NAACP Vancouver, Branch 1139, and Southwest Washington League of United Latin American Citizens, Council 47013, issued statements on the fatal police shooting.

“The recent shooting has poured salt on a lot of wounds that are far from ever healing. We need to channel this pain into our advocacy. We need to make the decision makers and influencers know that we want justice, and we need to let them know what justice needs to look like,” NAACP Vancouver President Jasmine Tolbert said in a written statement.

She said the initial account of the shooting released by the Vancouver Police Department was confusing and is the perfect example for why local police need body cameras.

In a phone interview, Tolbert added that it’s important for people to advocate for the change they want to see.

“We need to move forward with any action to either prevent the next person from dying, or assist with bringing justice for the next person,” she said.

LULAC SW WA said its board is available for anyone who needs a safe space to talk.

“While our BIPOC community mourn the loss of yet another young man of color to the senseless brutality of the same officers sworn to protect and defend us, we cannot presume to be powerless. Our voices make a difference,” a Facebook post from the organization reads. 

Both organizations are encouraging citizens to submit public comment at the county council’s Tuesday meeting.

“As citizens of Clark County, Washington, I encourage each of you to speak up whenever you can and to put clarity to the statement that we MUST begin to live, not to die unnecessarily. RISE UP AND BE HEARD!” the Facebook post reads.

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