VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Two Vancouver detectives shot and killed an armed and wanted gang member during a traffic stop in Hazel Dell, police said.
The Vancouver Police Department said the detectives were trying to make a traffic stop around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday near Northeast 78th Street and Northeast 25th Avenue as part of a drug trafficking investigation.
According to police, the gang member was inside the car when the traffic stop began and he was “uncooperative and armed with a handgun.”
Officers said the detectives “engaged” the man before firing their weapons and killing him.
No officers were injured during the incident.
This marks the 3rd VPD shooting death by officers in 3 weeks.
Family demands answers
Family members identified the man as 44-year-old Carlos Hunter and said he hadn’t been affiliated with a gang for years.
Hunter’s sister, Pam Hunter, said that even if her brother really was carrying a gun, she doesn’t think he would have used it to threaten officers.
“My brother ain’t no angel but he sure didn’t deserve today to be the way he left this Earth,” said Pam Hunter.
Pam Hunter also questioned why authorities resorted to using deadly force and what could have warranted such an outcome.
“I would just like to know how it goes from a search warrant from a house looking for drugs, to a traffic stop, to tasing and shooting someone,” she said. “Bullets work if you shoot someone in the leg or arm; I just don’t understand how you have to kill everybody.”
The moments immediately leading up to the fatal shooting were witnessed by a man who happened to be driving past the scene.
“I saw 4 police officers right at the side of the car with guns drawn, tasers out or both, and one of the tasers was deployed,” said Josh. “At that point, they are struggling with the guy as I’m getting closer and closer. He is in the car.”
Hunter’s family told KOIN 6 News he had a history with Vancouver police but that his gang history was in the past. They added that Hunter leaves behind 5 kids with another one on the way.
“Just because you make mistakes and go to prison does not make you a forever criminal, it doesn’t make you forever wrong and it doesn’t make it okay for people to kill you,” said sister Nickeia Hunter.