Pursuit ends in officer-involved shooting at La Center/I-5 junction

Driver had fled a traffic stop initiated in Kelso

A pursuit on Interstate 5 southbound Thursday evening ended with an officer-involved shooting on the roundabout at the La Center/I-5 junction.

At 7:15 pm Thursday (June 3), Clark County dispatchers were notified of a pursuit that was entering Clark County from Cowlitz County.  Information provided indicated that the Washington State Patrol (WSP) was in pursuit of a vehicle that was originally stopped by Kelso Police Department for equipment violations but that the vehicle had fled the traffic stop at high speeds. 

Attempts were made to end the pursuit with the use of spike strips as the vehicle passed Woodland but the attempt was unsuccessful. 

The vehicle exited the freeway at exit 16, the La Center exit, and collided with an uninvolved vehicle at the top of the off ramp.  The involved vehicle was disabled due to the collision and came to a stop in the roundabout adjacent to the off ramp.  

The pursuing WSP troopers were then joined by an officer from the Cowlitz Tribal Police Department as they attempted to gain compliance with the male driver and a female passenger.  During this process, the WSP troopers and the Cowlitz police officer discharged their firearms striking the driver.

The female passenger exited the vehicle and was taken into custody.  The driver, who was conscious and alert, refused to exit the vehicle.  

A news release from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office reported that while communicating with the troopers and the officer, the driver told them that he had a firearm and that he was ready to die. The driver was then seen multiple times using a meth pipe to ingest a substance believed to be methamphetamine. 

After approximately 20 minutes of negotiations the driver exited the vehicle and was taken into custody.  The driver was given emergency first aid by law enforcement before being transferred to medical personnel for continued treatment and transport to an area hospital.  The subject was reported to be in serious but stable condition. 

During the initial processing of the vehicle a firearm was recovered. 

This investigation is ongoing and will be conducted by the Southwest Washington Independent Investigative Response Team (SWIIR Team). 

The SWIIR Team is comprised of agencies in Clark County, including the Battle Ground Police Department, Camas Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, and Vancouver Police Department.  In compliance with WAC 139-12, the involved agency personnel will not be involved in this investigation. 

  • The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is the case managing agency for this incident.  All future communications will be sent via the SWIIR Team.
  • The SWIIR Team will release the name of the involved officer and troopers at a later time.
  • Once the SWIIR Team investigation is complete, the case will be forwarded to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Information provided by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

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