Camas man, 21, identified as person killed in Hazel Dell police shooting

Girlfriend says she was on the phone with Keven Peterson Jr. when he was shot

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Kevin Peterson Jr., 21, of Camas, was killed Oct. 29, 2020, in a police-involved shooting in Vancouver. (Photo by Jake Thompson)

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at 12:19 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, by the Post-Record’s sister paper, The Columbian. 

A 21-year-old Black Camas man has been identified as the man shot and killed Thursday evening by Clark County sheriff’s deputies on Northeast Highway 99 in Hazel Dell.

The man’s name and condition has been withheld by authorities since the shooting, but his father told The Oregonian newspaper on Friday that his name was Kevin E. Peterson Jr. The younger Peterson’s girlfriend, Olivia Selto, separately confirmed his identity and that he had died at the scene of the shooting.

The shooting, which prompted an early morning demonstration by a group of protesters, occurred shortly before 6 p.m. in the parking lot at a US Bank branch, 6829 N.E. Highway 99.

Peterson’s father told The Oregonian that he arrived at the scene about 6 p.m. but “did not get a chance to identify my son” until 5:30 a.m. Friday. Selto said she had been on the phone with the younger Peterson during the shooting.

“I was on the phone before the shots and stayed on the phone for nine minutes until the police finally came over and hung up the phone,” Selto said in a message. “I heard his last words and everything. I’m devastated, and we will get justice for his wrongful death.”

Selton told The Columbian that Peterson called her via video at 5:55 p.m. When she answered, Peterson was running, she said. She couldn’t understand much of what he was saying, but Peterson seemed scared. Then, she heard shots.

“After the shots he told me he loved me and made a few sounds, then silence came,” Selto said.

As soon as she heard the shots – which happened about a minute after Peterson called – Selto began screen-recording the video call, she said. It ended at 6:04 p.m., when law enforcement officers are seen looking at the phone, covering the camera and then hanging up the call, she said.

At 5:56 p.m., emergency medical crews were dispatched to the scene for a report of a person with a gunshot wound who was either unconscious or in cardiac arrest, according to dispatch logs. However, Selto said her recording indicates that officers did not check on Peterson until they approached and disconnected the call.

A section of Northeast Highway 99 was closed to traffic for hours Thursday as officers from multiple agencies investigated the scene. Investigators had cleared the scene as of about 9 a.m. Friday.

The sheriff’s office issued a statement late Thursday confirming reports of the shooting heard on police radio and from witnesses. The statement did not offer any details of the shooting, to the point of not saying whether anyone had been shot.

Dispatch records and witness accounts indicate that a person was shot and wounded.

The string of events appears to have began with a “contact suspect” dispatch to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office at 5:29 p.m. at US Bank.

About 20 minutes later, police were heard announcing “shots fired” on their radios.

An employee at a nearby business who contacted The Columbian after the shooting said he observed a man running away from law enforcement officers and hearing “lots of shots.”

Joseph Webster, 18, was in the back of Jiffy Lube working with a customer when he heard a screeching of tires across the street at the US Bank parking lot and then gunfire.

“You can’t help but look with all the tires screeching,” he said. “I can’t believe they shot so quick.”

Webster said he was interviewed by police. He said they told him the man had fired a gun at officers, but he said he had not seen that from his vantage point, only the man running away and being shot.

A group of protesters arrived at the shooting scene after midnight.

A video of the confrontation posted on Twitter by journalist Sergio Olmos of Oregon Public Broadcasting showed a group of about 30 protesters chanting, “Black Lives Matter” and “Say His Name” at investigators at the scene and questioning why some officers had donned what protesters described as “riot gear.”

The story has been picked up by national media, including Newsweek.

A vigil has been announced for 7 p.m. at 6829 N.E. Highway 99 in Hazel Dell.