Great Britain

Kevin Peterson Jr: protesters decry police shooting in Washington state

Protesters gathered in Washington state on Friday morning after sheriff’s deputies shot a young Black man on Thursday evening in a bank parking lot in the south of the state.

Law enforcement remained tight-lipped about the Thursday night shooting in Hazel Dell, but Kevin E Peterson Sr told the Oregonian/OregonLive the person killed was his son.

Kevin E Peterson Jr was a former football player with a baby daughter, friends and family said. His father said he had no criminal record and he had no idea how his son would be involved in an incident that would draw law enforcement. Peterson Jr appears to have been shot while on the phone with his partner, OregonLive added.

Several dozen protesters gathered into the early morning hours on Friday as investigators processed the scene of the shooting. Bystanders said Peterson’s car was towed but his body remained at the scene for hours.

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

“They didn’t have a whole lot of information,” he said of family members. “There was a ton of grief, a ton of grief. He’s 21 and has a baby, an infant. 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 at about 6pm on Thursday but “did not get a chance to identify my son” until 5.30am on 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 tuxedo with 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 liked by everyone at school, Thompson said.

Other agencies, including Washington state patrol and the Camas police department, responded to help investigate. The Camas police department has been designated as the lead investigative agency.

Hazel Dell is about 12 miles north of Portland. A vigil was planned Friday evening in Vancouver, Washington, by the NAACP chapter.

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