Clark County Sheriff Atkins offers statement on Oct. 17 officer-involved shooting

Sheriff asks for patience and understanding from the community while the independent investigation is conducted

Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins issued a statement Wednesday (Oct. 20) about the officer-involved shooting Sunday (Oct. 17) that resulted in the death of Vancouver resident Kfin Karuo.

Chuck Atkins, Clark County Sheriff
Chuck Atkins, Clark County Sheriff

According to reports from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and the Southwest Washington Independent Investigative Response Team, on Sunday at about 2:22 a.m., CCSO deputies initiated a traffic stop with a vehicle associated with an individual they had probable cause to arrest for Assault 1 with a handgun.  

The suspect, later identified as Karuo, failed to comply with a traffic stop and a pursuit ensued.  CCSO deputies conducted a successful Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT maneuver) in the area of NE 122nd Avenue and NE 49th Street and the vehicle was immobilized. 

An update into the investigation of the incident issued Tuesday (Oct. 19) reported Karuo was armed with a handgun and pointed the gun at the deputies, who then fired at him. Karuo, still armed with a handgun, fled on foot and was located a short distance from his vehicle. When law enforcement located him deceased, he reportedly still had the gun in his hand with his finger on the trigger.

Two deputies from the CCSO were involved in the incident. Both deputies were placed on critical incident leave, per standard protocol.

Statement from Sheriff Atkins:                                                                        

“I am awaiting a briefing on the incident of one or more of my employees having been involved in the firing of their weapon(s) in an incident Sunday morning with a motorist wanted for an alleged assault with a firearm. I am conflicted with the lack of information immediately available to me, and my inability to comment more specifically to the community about this matter accordingly. I am also reluctant to comment on what initial information is before me, as any inaccuracy will lead some to believe that I have falsified or intentionally mischaracterized information.

“I support the reason for and purpose of having an independent team conduct the investigation, though that means I must likely wait weeks for an initial briefing by that team, and at least several months before their investigation is completed and reviewed by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

“What I can say is that I am concerned that a family has tragically lost a loved one in a police-involved shooting. I am concerned that it appears that the wanted person did not peacefully comply with the deputy trying to pull him over, or to detain him thereafter. Unfortunately, we (Law Enforcement) often do not get to control when or where an officer involved shooting may occur.  We are trained to be aware of the backdrop, crossfire, and surroundings, however in a split-second life and death decision deputies must weigh the risk to themselves and others and the totality of circumstances when applying force. I am concerned about the nature of the shooting, and what, if anything, we can learn from this incident. I am concerned about those that experienced property damage in this incident, and we have aggressively sought to facilitate arrangements for damages to be fixed or compensated – doing so through the County’s proscribed process.

“I am concerned about the well-being of the deputies involved in this incident, and the impact of the event to the immediate residents of the area and the larger community. 

“There are and will be numerous questions about what happened, how and why. I expect to learn answers to those questions, between the independent investigation as well as the internal review that my agency will undertake. I know these answers will not come soon enough for me, or others, but that I must trust in the process – and withhold judgement until all the facts have been carefully considered.

“I ask for the same patience and understanding of the community accordingly.’’

Information provided by Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

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