CLARK COUNTY, Wash. (KOIN) — Investigators have not found any evidence Kevin Peterson Jr. fired a handgun before Clark County deputies shot and killed him, according to the Southwest Washington Independent Investigative Response Team (SWIRT).
The announcement directly contradicts an affidavit filed in Clark County District Court and reported on last week.
Deputies shot and killed Peterson, 21, on Oct. 29 near the U.S. Bank on NE Highway 99 in Hazel Dell.
Based on surveillance video and interviews with officers who were at the scene, SWIRT investigators claim Peterson did have a .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun and pointed it at deputies at times, but that it does not appear Peterson fired the gun. No .40 caliber casings were recovered at the scene.
Officers with the regional drug task force were investigating Peterson for conspiracy to deliver controlled substances, according to court documents. Peterson was reportedly in contact with a confidential informant who tipped off authorities about Peterson’s plans to sell the informant 50 Xanax pills. The sale was set to take place at about 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the Quality Inn at 7001 NE Highway 99, according to a search warrant affidavit.
Detectives in unmarked cars activated their emergency lights and attempted to stop Peterson when he pulled into the Quality Inn parking lot, according to investigators, who added the detectives were wearing “tactical vests bearing law enforcement identification.”
Peterson fled on foot, detectives ordered him to stop, but he continued and dropped a handgun, according to SWIRT investigators. Detectives allegedly ordered him not to pick up the gun, but Peterson did and continued to run. Detectives did not pursue further, but advised other units by radio that Peterson was armed, investigators said.
As Peterson crossed the U.S. Bank property, deputies allegedly arrived and ordered him to stop. One deputy said Peterson pulled a handgun out of his sweatshirt pocket. The deputy said he ordered Peterson to drop the gun, but the other man kept walking. The deputy said he fired at Peterson as the man continued toward incoming units, according to investigators.
Another deputy said Peterson pointed the gun at him “while running northbound,” prompting him to fire at Peterson. Video from the bank showed Peterson fall, then sit up and point the gun, according to investigators.
Deputies again fired at Peterson and gave commands to drop the gun, according to the SWIRT report. Peterson “eventually set the handgun down,” but continued to “make some movements,” investigators said. Deputies allegedly called for more units to approach Peterson with a shield due to him having a handgun within reach.
About five minutes after shots were fired, deputies rendered first aid to Peterson, according to the SWIRT report.
Peterson was in possession of a Glock model 23 handgun that had one round chambered and one round missing from the magazine, according to investigators. At this time, detectives do not have evidence that Peterson fired the gun while in the U.S. Bank lot, according to the SWIRT report.
Investigators are still working to complete the investigation, but have now identified the deputies involved:
- Detective Jeremy Brown, age 46, a 14-year veteran of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, currently assigned to the Drug Task Force
- Detective Robert Anderson, age 42, a 13-year veteran of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, currently assigned to the Drug Task Force
- Deputy Jonathan Feller, age 46, a 2.5-year veteran of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, currently assigned to the patrol division. Deputy Feller has approximately 14 years of previous law enforcement experience in South Dakota
Anyone with information about the incident can contact the investigative team at email@example.com.
Peterson’s death prompted new unrest. Protests broke out almost immediately at the scene of the shooting.
The following night, there was a peaceful vigil where hundreds of people left signs and candles and gathered around the family. Clashes broke out in the streets though between left- and right-wing demonstrators. Hundreds of people later marched through downtown Vancouver, smashing windows and burning flags.