He ran through the woods

Oregon Public Broadcasting ran a new story yesterday about the police killing of Kevin Peterson Jr. by sheriff's deputies in Vancouver, Washington on October 29. Some of what OPB reported helps answer questions I had about the events of that tragic late afternoon.

I had been trying to picture Peterson's flight away from the narcotics detectives who confronted him in one of the two Quality Inn parking lots. I had guessed that he ran out the driveway of the motel, took a left, and ran along the highway.

But there's another way to get from the motel to the U.S. Bank branch parking lot where Peterson was shot dead. To the south of the parking lot on the east side of the motel, there is a large wooded lot. 

Apparently, that's the way Peterson ran.

After separate drug task force members at the Xanax sale blocked Peterson’s car, he fled on foot, investigators said. He dropped a handgun, and detectives ordered him not to pick it up, they said. He did and ran into a forested area on the south side of the hotel.

That wooded lot also adjoins the bank branch property. There's a retaining wall between the two, and a chain link fence for at least some of the property line. Parts of the fence were shown clearly in the photos and video from the memorial for Peterson on the night of the 30th. It looks like temporary fencing. 

Somehow, Peterson emerged from the woods into the bank lot. There may have been a gap in the fence. Maybe he climbed over the fence.

The OPB story goes on to describe the first shot that was fired at him. That description is pretty alarming:

The path took him to the parking lot of the shuttered U.S. Bank branch, where he reportedly encountered more deputies. He carried a cellphone. They told him to stop, investigators said, but Peterson “did not comply with commands."

Peterson then turned north and reportedly took a handgun out of his sweatshirt pocket. As he walked in the other direction, Anderson shot.

"As he walked in the other direction." That sure sounds to me like they shot him in the back.

So now, two weeks later, the police version is down to "He was holding a gun in his hand." First it was "He fired two rounds." Then it was downgraded to "He produced a gun." 

I'm not sure I believe the cops even saw a gun. But if they did, it appears that Peterson didn't point it at anybody, before they shot him, apparently in the back.


  1. It sure looks like they tried to prop up the justification angle for shooting this young man. But how are we supposed to believe anything from the police now if the main part of their story was bullshit? It's similar to the Atlanta Wendy's shooting. Somehow police officers who are chasing a black person in America feel like it is okay to shoot the suspect in the back rather than let them get away. If that's what happened...IF that's what happened, there should be hell to pay.

    One thing I'd like to see is how they tie the Glock to the dead man. How about some pictures of the gun next to the man's body? Was it registered to him? After it turned out that the man did not fire shots, the next thing you have to wonder is whether he had a gun at all. Oh, and how about some pictures of the 50 Zanax pills? It'd be so easy to claim a confidential informant said this or that when there could have been no informant, no 50 Zanax and no gun. One description was of a bunch of different pills packaged to sell, but where's the package with the 50 Zanax in them? Is that bullshit too?

    1. They do offer some specifics about the gun. They say it was registered to Peterson and he bought it from a relative. Probably not what they would have said if it was a "burner" that they planted.

      I'm not sure I believe he had it in his hand.

      He was on the phone with his girlfriend the whole time. Wouldn't it be something if she taped the call once it started sounding bad?

    2. Thanks for clearing that up, Jack. I did read that the gun was found near the deceased at the scene. If so he had it out unless they took it out from wherever he was carrying it and placed it there. I'd like to see a picture of that.

      Finding out he had the gun registered in his name was actually kind of a relief, if I could use that word. I don't want this to be another hideous example of injustice. I'm not hoping for wrongdoing here. Once you have a major change in the story it's hard to believe anything.

      Of course sometimes as with the Cheerful Tortoise incident it all adds up but it's still a goddamn shame that it had to end like this. I wish the cops had shown some restraint. Hell, Zanax? They offered me that at my last doctor's appointment.

      Maybe someday I'll share the incident I was in where the cops had every right to blow this teenager away but just decided to hold off. Believe me the cop was shaking visibly when it was over recounting how close he came to shooting the young man. I wish these cops had shown the same restraint.

    3. They say he had already dropped it once during the episode. It could have fallen out of his pocket when he was, you know, falling down from being shot in the back.


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