VANCOUVER, Wash. — A Vancouver police officer shot and killed a 16-year-old boy during an altercation in a parking lot Tuesday night.
The boy, identified by a friend as Clayton Joseph, brandished a knife at officers and refused commands to drop his weapon, according to Vancouver police.
No officers were injured.
Police responded to a report of a disturbance involving a male and a female at an apartment complex in the 1200 block of Southeast Ellsworth Road just after 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Witnesses called police after they saw a man assault his pregnant girlfriend in the parking lot of the apartment complex they lived in. The girlfriend was seen barefoot, screaming, crying and trying to get away from the man. Police identified the man as Joseph's older brother.
While waiting for police to arrive, two male residents told police they were confronted by a suspect now identified as Joseph who allegedly threatened them with a knife because he was angry that they had called the police.
Responding officers found both men at the scene and took Joseph's older brother into custody for domestic violence. Joseph continued to brandish his knife at officers.
Cpl. Roger Evans shot the teen after he refused commands to drop his weapon, police said. Evans, 48, was hired by the Vancouver Police Department in 1998.
"It sounded something like a firework, but I assumed it might be a gunshot because I heard screaming almost immediately afterwards," said Russell Rothgib, who heard the shooting from his bed in a neighboring apartment complex.
Evans was placed on leave, which is standard police procedure.
Joseph was taken to an area hospital, where he died. The Clark County Medical Examiner's Office said Joseph died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
According to a report in The Columbian, Joseph was convicted of an assault involving a knife last year.
The Columbian reports that Joseph walked into a public area near the apartment complex and swung a large steak knife at a male on Oct. 12, 2018. The male was able to step out of the way and deflect the swing, but he told police he would have been stabbed had he not moved out of the way.
The newspaper reports that two people called 911 and Joseph walked to Ellsworth Elementary School where he tried to steal a 14-year-old boy’s skateboard by punching him in the face and threatening to stab him.
Joseph pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault and had one count reduced from second- to fourth-degree assault after participating in a community support program, according to The Columbian. He was scheduled to be sentenced March 6.
Conner Bloxham said he is in utter disbelief over the death of his friend.
"He was not a troublemaker, he cared about his family, he stayed home with family watching brothers and sisters, he was dedicated on his education," Bloxham said.
In December 2007, Evans pulled his gun on a butcher in Vancouver during an off-duty altercation about deer jerky. No charges were filed following an internal investigation but Evans did receive a letter of reprimand.
The Regional Major Crimes Team is investigating is ongoing.