Members of the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team will take on lead roles for the investigation into the fatal shooting of Kevin E. Peterson Jr. by Clark County sheriff’s deputies.
Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik requested that members of the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team assume the team commander and lead investigator roles for the investigation, in an effort “to achieve increased independence in the investigation team,” according to a news release from the city of Battle Ground, which had been handling the release of information.
The Major Crimes Team is a group of investigators from Cowlitz County law enforcement agencies that serves as an independent investigation team for the region, required by Washington law.
Chief Criminal Deputy Troy Brightbill with the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office has been assigned as the team commander. Detective Ralph Webb with the Longview Police Department has been assigned as the lead investigator. Detective Sgt. Scott Boyles with the Camas Police Department will be the team leader. Sgt. Marc Langlois with the Longview Police Department will serve as public information officer.
Investigators from the Southwest Washington Independent Investigations Response team were already working with the Major Crimes Team, investigating the circumstances that led to Peterson’s death. Golik’s request simply puts the team’s members in lead positions.
“Investigations of this magnitude take time to ensure every aspect is thoroughly reviewed for an accurate account of the incident,” the news release says.
Peterson, a 21-year-old Black man from Camas, was killed Thursday evening in Hazel Dell. The Clark County medical examiner announced Monday that Peterson died of multiple gunshot wounds.
The medical examiner’s office did not offer additional information about Peterson’s wounds. A spokeswoman with Clark County Public Health said the department “can only release the information the medical examiner has included on the death certificate. … We do not have any additional details we can provide about Kevin Peterson.”
Peterson’s manner of death was ruled a homicide, meaning it resulted from another person’s deliberate action. The ruling does not make any judgments about criminal culpability.
The shooting occurred shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot at a US Bank branch, 6829 N.E. Highway 99. The branch has been closed for months because of the pandemic and is slated for permanent closure.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins said a narcotics investigation led to deputies chasing Peterson on foot.
Atkins said Peterson had reportedly fired at the deputies, but investigators released additional information Friday night that only said Peterson had displayed a weapon. It did not say he had fired it.
Three deputies reportedly fired their weapons at Peterson; all deputies involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol for police shootings. They have not yet been identified.
Anyone with information about the police shooting should email firstname.lastname@example.org.