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News / Clark County News

Vancouver police IDs Clark County deputies in Brush Prairie shooting that left man dead

Jonathan Gale, 53, of Brush Prairie died from multiple gunshot wounds; agency releases body cam footage of incident

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter, and
Jessica Prokop, Columbian Local News Editor
Published: February 29, 2024, 3:17pm

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 incidents.

Investigators identified the trio Thursday as sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Yoder, Deputy Forrest Gonzalez and Deputy Holly DeZubiria. They also identified two deputies they say were witnesses: sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Ruppel and Deputy Isaac Henrikson.

Yoder is a patrol sergeant who’s been with the sheriff’s office since 2006. Gonzalez is assigned to central precinct patrol, and he’s been with the agency since 2018. DeZubiria is also assigned to central precinct patrol, and she’s been at the sheriff’s office since 2019.

Ruppel is a patrol sergeant who’s been with the agency since 2016. Henrikson is assigned to central precinct patrol, and he’s been with the sheriff’s office since 2023, according to a Thursday update.

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…

All five deputies were placed on critical incident leave, which is standard protocol. They remained on leave as of Thursday, according to the Vancouver Police Department, which is leading the investigation by the Southwest Washington Independent Investigation Team.

Last week, investigators said they located firearms near the man who was shot. The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office identified him as Jonathan Gale, 53, of Brush Prairie.

Gale died from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso. He was killed outside of his RV on the property, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Deputies’ body-worn cameras captured the incident, and the sheriff’s office released the footage Thursday after the deputies were identified.

Previous fatal shootings

Yoder, Gonzalez and DeZubiria were previously involved in fatal Clark County shootings, Columbian archives show.

Yoder was involved in the March 2016 shooting of 38-year-old Amy Jean McCoy of Portland. She wielded a hammer and knife at Yoder and another deputy in a backyard in the Five Corners area, according to investigators. The Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office ruled that the use of deadly force was justified.

Gonzalez was involved in the October 2021 shooting of Kfin Karuo, 28, of Vancouver. Gonzalez told investigators Karuo pointed a gun at him as Karuo fled from his crashed SUV following a chase. The prosecutor’s office handed off that shooting review to a statewide panel of prosecutors in 2022. Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik said Thursday that the panel has not yet completed the review and he plans to inquire about its status.

DeZubiria (then Troupe) was involved in the February 2022 traffic stop of Jenoah Donald, a 30-year-old Black man, that ended with another deputy shooting Donald. The situation escalated after DeZubiria said she saw a sharp object in Donald’s vehicle, which investigators said they later determined was a screwdriver. In July 2021, a statewide panel of prosecutors examined Donald’s shooting and found the deputy who fired his weapon acted in “good faith.”

Retraining of deputies

Donald’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county and involved deputies in February 2022 in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. The case is pending, with trial set to start in April.

“One of the problems in the Clark County Sheriff’s Office is an unwillingness to take responsibility and retrain deputies,” said attorney Mark Lindquist, who’s representing Donald’s family.

He said he’s unaware if DeZubiria was retrained after Donald’s shooting, but he pointed to other local shootings in which he said a different deputy was not retrained.

“From what we know so far, this shooting (in Brush Prairie) seems to be lawful, but there’s no downside to retraining deputies after they’ve been involved in a use-of-force incident,” he said.

Lindquist said there’s a vast difference in standards in a criminal review and a civil lawsuit.

“Finding that a shooting is lawful under the criminal law is entirely different than whether or not it’s permissible under our civil statutes. Just because a deputy hasn’t committed murder doesn’t mean it was a lawful shooting,” he said. “There are many examples in this state where deputies were correctly not charged with a criminal offense but still held accountable in a lawsuit.”

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