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News / Clark County News

Guns seized from Brush Prairie man fatally shot by deputies were loaded, investigators say

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: March 5, 2024, 6:06pm
3 Photos
A handgun investigators say a Brush Prairie man pulled from his waistband moments before Clark County sheriff&rsquo;s deputies fatally shot him Feb. 20. Investigators said Tuesday the gun was loaded.
A handgun investigators say a Brush Prairie man pulled from his waistband moments before Clark County sheriff’s deputies fatally shot him Feb. 20. Investigators said Tuesday the gun was loaded. (Photo contributed by the Vancouver Police Department) Photo Gallery

Investigators say suspect’s guns seized in Brush Prairie shooting were loaded

Two guns seized from a Brush Prairie man fatally shot by three Clark County sheriff’s deputies Feb. 20 were loaded, according to investigators.

In addition to a gun investigators say Jonathan Gale, 53, pulled from his waistband, deputies also found a revolver in Gale’s front pocket while providing him medical aid after he’d been shot. Investigators submitted the two guns to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab for DNA and ballistics testing, according to a Tuesday update from the Vancouver Police Department, which is leading the Southwest Washington Independent Investigation Team.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s office released body camera footage from the five deputies involved in the incident. Vancouver police also identified the deputies and said three fired their guns, while two were witnesses. As of last week, all five remained on critical incident leave, which is standard protocol.

The deputies responded to 12521 N.E. 152nd Ave., after a woman called 911 to report concerns about her mother’s safety. When deputies arrived at 1:17 a.m., they encountered Gale and the woman’s mother outside of his RV on the property, according to a video compilation.

The woman told deputies she’d been sexually assaulted and that Gale was armed. A deputy can be heard on the video saying Gale needed to be detained. When another deputy approached Gale to pat him down, Gale pulled what investigators say was a firearm from his waistband. Three deputies then shot Gale, the video shows.

Medical personnel later pronounced Gale dead. The woman was taken to a hospital to be evaluated, Vancouver police 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.

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