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News / Clark County News

Bodycam footage shows man pulled gun before being shot by Clark County sheriff’s deputies

Brush Prairie man pulled gun from waistband before being killed Feb. 20 by three deputies

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: February 29, 2024, 8:21pm

Body camera footage released Thursday by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office captured a 53-year-old Brush Prairie man pulling a gun from his waistband moments before three deputies fatally shot him on Feb. 20.

The video compilation includes footage from five deputies’ cameras as they responded to 12521 N.E. 152nd Ave. The video came hours after the Vancouver Police Department, which is investigating the shooting as a part of the Southwest Washington Independent Investigation Team, released the identities of the deputies. Three of the deputies fired their guns, while two were witnesses, investigators said.

This was the first shooting since deputies began wearing body cameras, which the department began rolling out late last year.

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office last week identified the man who was shot as Jonathan Gale and said he died from multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Ruppel can be seen in the footage approaching Gale, asking him if he has any weapons and telling him he is going to pat him down. Gale can be heard telling the deputy not to touch him and claiming he was sick with COVID-19. As Ruppel approached, Gale reached toward his waistband and pulled out an object the sheriff’s office says is a gun, according to the video compilation.

Three deputies — identified by Vancouver police as Sgt. Tom Yoder, Deputy Forrest Gonzalez and Deputy Holly DeZubiria — can be seen shooting Gale.

Sheriff’s office response

At 12:05 a.m., a woman called 911 to report that she was concerned for her mother’s safety. She said her mother was calling from a male family member’s phone, and she was at his residence on the property. The daughter described her mother’s behavior as strange, according to the video compilation.

While deputies were heading to the property, they encountered an intoxicated driver and stopped to investigate, which delayed their arrival to the property. The daughter called 911 again. She said her mother called and told her she was being held hostage and that there were “guns everywhere.” Her mother then quickly hung up, the video update states.

Deputies arrived at 1:17 a.m. They encountered Gale and the woman outside of his RV on the property, according to the video.

Gonzalez can be seen talking to the woman, whose face is blurred and whose voice is muted in the footage to protect her identity. According to the video, during their conversation, the woman told the deputy she’d been sexually assaulted and that Gale was armed.

Gonzalez is then seen approaching Yoder, DeZubiria and Ruppel, who are standing near Gale, and he tells them Gale needs to be detained. Ruppel then approaches Gale to pat him down, but Ruppel scrambles away as Gale yells, “Hey, mother (expletive),” and reaches into his waistband. The other deputies begin shooting, the video shows.

Medical attention

Gale can be seen falling to the ground after he’s shot, and he doesn’t appear to move while deputies prepare to provide him medical aid. Yoder can be heard radioing for medical personnel.

More in This Series

Clark County sheriff’s deputies fatally shot a man who they say appeared to have a gun while responding to a welfare check early Tuesday morning in Brush Prairie. The shooting was captured on the deputies’ body-worn cameras, the sheriff’s office said. Five deputies were placed on critical incident leave, which is standard protocol.Vancouver police IDs Clark County deputies in Brush Prairie shooting that left man dead
Three Clark County sheriff’s deputies who fatally shot a man Feb. 20 at a property in Brush Prairie have previously been involved in fatal use-of-force…
A screenshot from a Clark County sheriff's deputy body-worn camera in a shooting on Feb. 20 that left one man dead.Bodycam footage shows man pulled gun before being shot by Clark County sheriff’s deputies
Body camera footage released Thursday by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office captured a 53-year-old Brush Prairie man pulling a gun from his waistband moments before…

About three minutes after deputies fired, they approached Gale, put him in handcuffs and began providing medical aid, footage shows. While they checked Gale’s wounds and applied bandages, the video shows, deputies removed a second firearm from him.

When medical personnel arrived, they pronounced Gale dead. The woman was taken to a hospital to be evaluated. No deputies were injured, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office is investigating the sexual assault allegation. When detectives searched Gale’s RV, they seized 10 improvised explosive devices, multiple firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, according to the video compilation.

Once the investigation is complete, it will be sent to the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review.