Body camera footage released Friday by the Vancouver Police Department shows Joshua James Wilson pointed a handgun at an officer before that officer and others fatally shot him May 30 in a central Vancouver shopping center parking lot.
The footage comes from body cameras worn by Vancouver police Officer Brandon Riedel and Vancouver police Detectives Colton Price and Aaron Yoder. Investigators say Clark County sheriff’s Detective Zach Nielsen also was present and shot Wilson, but the sheriff’s office has not yet implemented a body camera program. All officers were placed on critical incident leave last week, according to police, which is standard practice.
This is the first police shooting since Vancouver officers began wearing cameras in February.
The police department said Wilson fired at pursuing officers. The Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team, led by the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, which is handling the investigation, has not yet confirmed if Wilson fired at officers. It previously said investigators were still reviewing video footage.
The body camera footage shows Officer 1, who is addressed several times as Riedel, exit his police vehicle with his handgun drawn. He’s heard shouting twice at Wilson, “Drop the gun!” Wilson could be seen pointing a gun at Riedel before gunfire immediately followed. Wilson continued to run for a few seconds after the gunfire began, then fell to the ground.
After Wilson fell, officers could be heard asking if anyone else was hit. In response, Riedel said, “He shot towards me. I’m not — I’m good.” The police department has said no officers or members of the public were injured.
Another officer could then be heard saying, “He’s moving,” before several others shouted commands at Wilson not to move.
After about 90 seconds, officers approached Wilson, with guns still drawn. They then cut away his clothes and applied chest seals and tourniquets to his wounds. Riedel could be heard saying, “He was firing at me. I don’t, I think I’m good but ….” Riedel began performing CPR, but Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene.
A handgun could be seen on the ground a distance from Wilson. The video also notes a gun holster attached to Wilson’s belt. He appeared to have received gunshot wounds to his torso and legs.
Footage identified as belonging to Officers 2 and 3 shows them chasing Wilson, with rifles, through the parking lot. Officer 2 could be heard shouting “Police, get down! You’re gonna get shot!” Officer 3 could be heard simultaneously shouting several times, “He’s reaching!” The sound of gunfire soon follows.
The Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team said it has completed its interviews with all four officers.
Here is what investigators say happened before the shooting: Shortly after 5:30 p.m., the Vancouver Police Neighborhood Response Team, with help from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Detectives Unit, was attempting to take Wilson into custody as he walked out of the Safeway supermarket.
Wilson had arrest warrants, investigators say, and was identified as a suspect in a May 20 burglary at Allen’s Crosley Lanes, 2400 E. Evergreen Blvd., and May 21 and 29 armed robberies at convenience stores at 6510 E. Mill Plain Blvd., and 1901 Kauffman Ave., respectively.
“Officer safety information had previously been shared with law enforcement agencies in the region, noting that Wilson was armed and had reportedly made statements that he would shoot police rather than be taken into custody,” a Monday statement reads.
After a patrol officer spotted Wilson going into the supermarket, more police responded and formed an arrest team in the parking lot near Wilson’s vehicle. When Wilson emerged with his groceries, the officers identified themselves and ordered him to stop. Instead he ran west through the parking lot, as seen on the video.
Once the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team investigation is complete, the case will be forwarded to the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review. At that point, Prosecutor Tony Golik said his office will review the report for any conflict with his office and determine who will complete the formal review.