VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A teenager, who allegedly was armed and refused commands to drop a knife, was shot to death by a Vancouver police officer late Tuesday night.
The 16-year-old was one of 2 people involved in a fight of some kind in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 1200 block of SE Ellsworth Road around 11:05 p.m.
Officers were initially called to the scene because of a disturbance between a man and woman, authorities said. But witnesses said 2 men — one of whom was the teen — got into a fight and both may have been armed.
The 16-year-old — who was identified as Clayton Joseph by a friend — continued to wave a knife at the responding officers and, officials said, refused commands to drop it.
Neighbors told KOIN 6 News they heard shouting for about a minute immediately before an officer fired their weapon.
Clayton was rushed to a hospital for treatment of his wounds but did not survive.
No police officers were hurt. The officer who fired the service weapon was identified by the Vancouver Police Department as 48-year-old Cpl. Roger Evans, a veteran with the bureau for nearly 21 years. Evans is on standard administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
SE 10th Street was closed to all traffic from Ellsworth and Nancy Road while investigators were on scene.
‘He was a good example to others’
Conner Bloxham was friends with the teen.
“His family is originally from the Federated States of Micronesia,” Bloxham said. He said he met Clayton there 4 years ago through work for his church and stayed in touch with him.
Bloxham said Clayton only recently moved to the U.S. He found out Wednesday morning that his friend had died.
“At first, it’s kinda crazy. At first, I thought it was a sick joke or a rumor,” said Bloxham. “I think just yesterday he called me — he needed help with his homework.”
Bloxham is shocked over the sudden loss of his friend, whom he’d known since they were both younger and described as a person who was focused on his schoolwork and family.
“He’s always been that kid — he was a good example to others,” said Bloxham. “He tried to be a good brother and good friend.”
Officials still haven’t identified the teen; however, KOIN 6 News learned that Clayton attended Evergreen High School. The exact circumstances that led to his death are unclear. But as the investigation unfolds, Bloxham hopes the teen’s family can find peace.
“I think he was just involved trying to actually prevent further escalation in the situation that was happening and he just got caught up in the middle of it,” said Bloxham.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.