Investigators released more details this week about the Oct. 29 officer-involved shooting that killed a 21-year-old Camas man.
According to a press release issued by a regional investigative team on Tuesday, Nov. 10, investigators allege a surveillance video shows Kevin E. Peterson Jr., the Black man killed in the Oct. 29 officer-involved shooting in Vancouver, pointed a handgun toward law enforcement officers, but say they have found no evidence showing Peterson fired that gun.
Investigators also released the names of the three Clark County Sheriff’s deputies involved in Peterson’s death: Det. Jeremy Brown, 46, a 14-year veteran of the sheriff’s office; Det. Robert Anderson, 42, a 13-year sheriff’s office veteran — both assigned to the Clark County Regional Drug Task Force — and Deputy Jonathan Feller, 46, a patrol division deputy who has been with the sheriff’s office for two years and worked for 14 years in South Dakota law enforcement before coming to Clark County.
According to investigators, the events leading up to the shooting death of Peterson began on Oct. 29, when detectives with the regional drug task force attempted to purchase Xanax from a Black male driving a Mercedes — later identified as Peterson — in a Quality Inn parking lot off Northeast Highway 99 in Hazel Dell.
Investigators say the detectives were driving unmarked cars but were wearing tactical vests identifying themselves as law enforcement and allege Peterson fled on foot after seeing the detectives.
“Detectives ordered Peterson to stop but he continued to run and dropped a handgun while running,” the investigators stated. “Detectives saw the handgun and ordered Peterson not to pick it up, but Peterson picked up the handgun and continued to flee.”
Investigators say detectives stopped their pursuit at that point and alerted nearby law enforcement units that Peterson was on the run and armed.
Radio units alerted law enforcement that Peterson was seen walking south “still carrying the handgun in his hand” before entering the parking lot of a closed U.S. Bank at 6829 N.E. Hwy. 99.
Detectives told investigators they approached Peterson and commanded him to stop.
“Deputy Anderson stated Peterson had a cell phone in his hand at this time,” investigators stated in their press release. “Peterson did not comply with the commands.”
Instead, investigators say Peterson turned north and pulled the gun out of his sweatshirt pocket, ignoring Deputy Anderson’s commands to drop the weapon.
Anderson told investigators he believed Peterson was “a threat to the public” as well as law enforcement units approaching from the north.
“Deputy Anderson told investigators he fired his duty pistol at Peterson as he continued north toward incoming units,” the press release stated. “Deputy Feller stated Peterson pointed the handgun at him while running northbound. Deputy Feller fired his duty pistol at Peterson at this time.”
Investigators say a video from U.S. Bank shows Peterson fall, “then sit up and point a handgun.”
The deputies have said Peterson was pointing his gun at Brown.
Brown and Anderson then fired their guns at Peterson.
“Deputy Brown advised investigators that by the time he fired, Peterson was pointing the handgun at him and (Brown) did not know if he had been shot.”
Investigators say Peterson “eventually set the handgun down and continued to make some movements.”
Deputies made contact with Peterson about five minutes after shots were fired, investigators said, adding that Peterson was “in possession of an iPhone and a Glock model 23, .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun … (with) one round chambered and one round missing from the magazine.”
Investigators said they do not have any evidence that Peterson fired his handgun while in the U.S. Bank parking lot and that no .40-caliber casing has been recovered from the scene.
Investigators did execute a search warrant on Peterson’s vehicle and said they found “several pre-packaged amounts of pills … identified as Xanax.”
Investigators believe Peterson’s handgun originally belonged to one of the Camas man’s relatives, “who sold the firearm to Peterson in August.”
Peterson’s family described the young Camas father as “a happy young man with his whole life ahead of him” who has “become another face of racial injustice” in a GoFundMe that had raised nearly $55,000 as of Nov. 10.
Investigators say they are still working to complete the investigation and have asked that anyone who might have more information about the shooting, email firstname.lastname@example.org.