Investigation will now be reviewed by Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office
Editor’s note: Warning the attached video contains graphic content.
The Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team and the Southwest Washington Independent Investigations Response Team is completing its investigation of the Oct. 29 officer-involved shooting that claimed the life of 21-year-old Camas resident Kevin Peterson Jr.
The results of the independent investigation has produced a video summary of the incident released Wednesday. The video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/0bP6kf5CbTk.
The video released Wednesday was compiled by using surveillance video from businesses in the area, drone video, dispatch audio recordings, and information obtained from interviews with the involved deputies and numerous witnesses. The video also identifies the locations of evidence and points where certain actions occurred, based on the scene processing and witness interviews. The involved deputies do not have body worn cameras or vehicle-based cameras.
Summary of the incident
The incident began as a drug investigation where deputies intended to take Peterson Jr. into custody for an attempted delivery of controlled substances. In their briefing before the operation, detectives shared a social media post by Peterson Jr. that indicated violence toward law enforcement.
When Peterson Jr. was first contacted by deputies in the parking lot of the Quality Inn in Hazel Dell, he fled on foot. Deputies told investigators that as Peterson Jr. ran away he dropped a handgun. Pursuing deputies ordered Peterson Jr. to not pick up the handgun. He ignored the commands and picked up the handgun anyway and continued to flee on foot.
When Peterson Jr. went through the U.S. Bank parking lot, located just south of the Quality Inn, one of the involved deputies contacted him at a distance of approximately 10 yards. The deputies stated they again gave Peterson Jr. commands to stop and to drop his gun, which witnesses in the area reported hearing. Peterson Jr. ignored these commands and ran back toward where other officers were on containment. Deputies told investigators that as he ran, Peterson Jr. pointed his gun at them.
All three deputies stated that before firing their weapons, they believed that Peterson Jr. posed a lethal threat to either themselves or other responding officers. The deputies fired a total of 34 rounds, with four rounds striking Peterson Jr. The deputies told investigators Peterson Jr. had aimed his firearm at them while multiple gunshots were going off around them. They believed Peterson Jr. had fired or had already shot at them.
There were two volleys of gunfire in this incident – the first occurred when Peterson Jr. reportedly ignored commands, pulled his handgun out of his sweatshirt pocket and then ran towards the containment officers. Peterson Jr. then reportedly pointed his handgun at the deputies. The second volley occurred after Peterson fell, then sat up and reportedly pointed the firearm at deputies again. Shortly after the shooting, one of the involved deputies advised via radio that he thought Peterson may have fired “a couple” shots in their direction.
Investigation to be reviewed
At this point in the investigation, the team will be forwarding the case file to the prosecuting attorney for review. Additional reports, such as lab reports and the medical examiner’s report are still pending, and will be submitted to the prosecutor as supplemental reports when they are received.
At the request of Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik, this case will now be reviewed by the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office. This update will be the final press release from the independent investigation team.
Information provided by city of Battle Ground.