OLYMPIA, Wash. — Olympia Officer Ryan Donald reported he was being assaulted with a skateboard early Thursday before the shooting that left Bryson Chaplin, 21, in serious condition and Andre Thompson, 24, in stable condition. Both were expected to survive.
- Police were called to Olympia Safeway for report of assault and attempted theft
- Officer found suspects, altercation occurred at back of patrol car, 1 man shot
- Both men then fled to the treeline, then back out into road
- Second suspect shot several times in torso
The shooting is being investigated by a team of detectives from several agencies. Brad Watkins, chief deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff's Department, said two skateboards were recovered from the shooting scene and an investigation will likely take three to six weeks. The men weren't armed with guns, investigators said.
Donald was among those who responded around 1 a.m. Thursday to a call from a Safeway store, Roberts said. Employees said two men tried to steal beer and then threw the alcohol at workers who confronted the pair. Read the transcript of the call to 911 here.
Officers split up to search for the men. Donald encountered two men with skateboards who fit witnesses' descriptions, and moments later, he radioed in that shots had been fired, the police chief said.
In radio calls released by police, Donald calls dispatchers once he spots the men, and again to report that he fired shots.
"I believe one of them is hit, both of them are running," Donald said.
He tells dispatchers that one of the men "assaulted me with his skateboard."
"I tried to grab his friend," Donald said. "They're very aggressive, just so you know."
He says he has one man, then both, at gunpoint and asks for backup.
Seconds later, he shouts, "Shots fired! One down," and again asks for more backup units. He then says the second man has been shot.
Chaplin was in intensive care but upgraded from critical to serious condition, hospital officials said Friday.
The police chief said Donald wasn't injured but an officer "has the right to defend himself" if a suspect wields an object that could be used as a deadly weapon.
Donald, 35, who is on administrative leave pending the investigation, has been with the department for just over three years. No residents have filed complaints against him, and he was recently recognized by the agency for being proactive on investigations, Roberts said. He worked previously as an Army police officer, the chief said.
Protesters rallied at a park Thursday afternoon, then marched about a mile to a building that houses police headquarters and City Hall, holding signs that read "Race is a Factor" and "We Are Grieving." The crowd chanted "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace."
The stepbrothers are black, and the officer is white, but Police Chief Ronnie Roberts said, "There's no indication to me that race was a factor in this case at all."
While those protests were peaceful, a small, separate group scuffled with bar patrons who confronted them late Thursday, police spokeswoman Laura Wohl said.
Some fights ensued and some protesters threw rocks at City Hall. Police responded and deployed flash bangs to disperse the crowd, she said Friday.
The shooting follows a string of high-profile police killings of unarmed black men, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, which set off weeks of protests and a national "Black Lives Matter" movement that has gained momentum across the country.
Rafael Ruiz, a 32-year-old Olympia resident, organized the peaceful protest Thursday afternoon. Standing on a picnic table at a park, he said he was there to defend the victims of police shootings.
"We're not going to say this kind of violence is OK," he said.
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