This August 2018 photo provided by Jake Thompson shows Kevin Peterson Jr., a 21-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by law enforcement in Clark County, Wash., on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. The Clark County Sheriff's office has not released any details on the Thursday evening shooting. (Jake Thompson via AP)

Police shooting of Black man near Portland raises tension

Police shooting of Black man near Portland raises tension

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The shooting of a Black man by law enforcement in Washington state sent shockwaves through the Pacific Northwest on Friday and threatened to increase tensions in the region around Portland, Oregon, where protesters against racial injustice have clashed repeatedly with right-wing groups.

Friends and family identified the dead man as Kevin E. Peterson Jr., 21, and said he was a former high school football player and the proud father of an infant daughter. The shooting happened in Hazel Dell, an unincorporated area of Vancouver, Washington, about 12 miles north of Portland.

In a statement, Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins said a joint city-county narcotics task force was conducting an investigation just before 6 p.m. Thursday and chased a man into the parking lot of a bank, where he fired a gun at them. A firearm was recovered at the scene, Atkins said.

Authorities have not named the person who was shot, but Kevin E. Peterson Sr. told The Oregonian/OregonLive the person was his son, Kevin E. Peterson Jr. Atkins referenced the Peterson family in his remarks but did not confirm Peterson was the person who was killed.

“I can say that our agency is grieving as is the Peterson family and the community,” Atkins said. “As the community grieves, I call for there to be a respectful and dignified observance of the loss of life in this matter. There is always the potential for misinformation, doubt and confusion – and there may be those who wish to sow seeds of doubt.”

The investigation has been referred to the Southwest Washington Independent Investigation Team, and the Camas Police Department is taking the lead, Atkins said.

The community is a short drive north across the Columbia River from Portland, where racial justice protests have played out nearly every night since George Floyd’s killing in May. Southwest Washington is also home to the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, which has held rallies for President Donald Trump in Portland in recent months that ended in violence.

Peterson’s family members, including the mother of his infant daughter, grieved on social media and questioned why it took authorities so long to make the shooting public and allow family to identify the body.

“Kevin did everything for me … doesn’t matter what it was or what time he always came when i asked. I regret every argument please come back,” his girlfriend, Olivia Selto, wrote on Twitter. “I miss him so much already.”

More than a dozen Black Lives Matter protesters lined a busy street in Hazel Dell on Friday in front of the US Bank parking lot where Peterson died. They held signs reading, “Honk for Black lives. White silence is violence” and “Scream his name.”

Two small bouquets of flowers were tied to a fence where the shooting happened along the street lined with strip malls and fast food restaurants. Most drivers honked in support of protesters, but one man screamed expletives and threats at the protesters and revved his engine as he drove past.

A vigil was planned for Friday evening at the location.

Brooklyn Tidwell, 16, said she and other students attended the rally instead of going to school.

“Black lives aren’t treated the same as my life,“ said Tidwell, who is white. “We should be voicing this and we should be protesting this because it needs to change.”

Daniel Thompson, 26, stopped by with a bouquet of pink roses to leave at the scene. Thompson, who is Black, said he did not know Peterson but could identify with the shooting death.

“I walk this street every day. It’s sickening. It could have been anyone of us,“ he said.

A few blocks away, supporters of law enforcment also gathered, with people holding signs, including some that read, “Police Lives Matter.”

Bystanders at the scene of the shooting said Peterson’s car was towed but his body remained for hours.

Mac Smiff, an organizer of Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, said he knows Peterson’s sister and spent more than five hours at the scene.

“There was a ton of grief, a ton of grief. He’s 21 and has a baby, an infant,” Smiff said. “They’re not sure what happened, why the encounter took place. Everyone was extremely disheveled and confused.”

The elder Peterson told the newspaper that he arrived at the scene about 6 p.m. Thursday but “did not get a chance to identify my son” until 5:30 a.m. Friday.

Jake Thompson, a high school acquaintance of Peterson, said he took photos at the wedding of Peterson’s parents in Portland in 2018. On Friday, he posted a black-and-white photo of Peterson in a suit and bow tie as he flashed a big grin.

“I didn’t sleep much last night,” he said Friday.

Peterson played football at Union High School in Vancouver, Washington, loved sports of any kind and was a big personality who was known and liked by everyone at school, Thompson said.

____

Follow Gillian Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus

Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press

 

A Clark County Sheriff's Office shooting occurred at a U.S. Bank in Hazel Dell in Vancouver, Wash., on Thursday night, Oct. 29, 2020, as seen along Northeast Highway 99 on Friday morning, Oct. 30, 2020. Friends say a 21-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in Washington state was a former high school football player who had an infant daughter and a fun-loving personality. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian via AP)

Flowers can be seen tied to a fence in a parking lot in Hazel Dell, Wash., on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, where a 21-year-old Black man Kevin Peterson Jr. was fatally shot by law enforcement the day before. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

Just Posted

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
Organizers of central Alberta anti-lockdown rodeo plead not guilty

Ty and Gail Northcott charged under the Public Health Act

(Black Press file photo.)
Road closures at both ends of Red Deer next week

Red Deer motorists should expect delays with road closures in the north… Continue reading

(File photo by Advocate staff)
37-year-old from Red Deer dies in highway crash

An individual from Red Deer has died after a collision on Highway… Continue reading

Grade one teacher Heidi Dimou arranges the desks in line with physical distancing policy in her class in preparation for the new school year at the Willingdon Elementary School in Montreal, on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta students expected to return to in-person learning next week

Kids can anticipate a return to the classroom next week in Alberta.… Continue reading

This grizzly bear had been hanging out near Aurum Lodge and the Cline River area and was later killed by Fish and Wildlife, says an area resident. (Contributed photo)
Grizzly sniffing for human food west of Nordegg killed

Lodge owner reminds campers to keep all food away from wildlife

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

(CPAC)
Trudeau says he knew about investigation into general overseeing vaccines weeks ago

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he learned weeks ago that… Continue reading

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States for a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid quarantine on return if they meet some straightforward conditions, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirms.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Canadians can drive to U.S. for COVID-19 vax and avoid quarantine, Ottawa confirms

TORONTO — Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Quebec can modify part of the Canadian Constitution unilaterally: Trudeau

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Quebec can unilaterally modify part… Continue reading

In this Thursday, April 29, 2021, file photo, giant bucket-wheel excavators extract coal at the controversial Garzweiler surface coal mine near Jackerath, West Germany. Canadian environmentalists are welcoming a report from the International Energy Agency that says new fossil fuel investment must end if the world is to meet its climate goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Martin Meissner
Canadian environmentalists happy with International Energy Agency report

Environmentalists say a report from the International Energy Agency that concludes investment… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ceasefire needed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict to avoid loss of more civilians: PM

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is calling for a… Continue reading

A forest fire burns late into the evening northeast of Prince Albert, Sask., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis
Saskatchewan wildfire grows, forcing evacuations in the area to expand

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — Dry conditions and strong winds caused a large… Continue reading

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Tam hopeful for summer even as Canada hits grim death milestone in COVID-19 pandemic

OTTAWA — Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she expects… Continue reading

Sheffield United’s Daniel Jebbison celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Sheffield United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Alex Pantling/Pool via AP
Canadian teenager Daniel Jebbison turns heads with Premier League goal

Jebbison, 17, is the youngest player in Premier League history to score on his first start in England’s top tier

Most Read