Prosecuting attorney releases statement on July 4 officer-involv - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Prosecuting attorney releases statement on July 4 officer-involved shooting

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WEST RICHLAND, WA - The following is a release from Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Miller.

"I have completed my review of the SIU investigation of the death of Douglas West. Mr. West died as a result of being shot by Deputy John Clary of the Benton County Sheriff's Office after Deputy Clary went to the West residence in response to a domestic violence call. It is my finding that the actions by Deputy Clary were appropriate under the sad and difficult circumstances, and certainly did not involve any criminal act.

"Shannon West called 911 at 10:39 p.m. on the night of July 4, 2017. She told the 911 dispatcher that her husband and she had been fighting, and that he had earlier grabbed her phone and thrown it to the ground. She also said that she had gone into her bedroom and that her husband had tried to push his way inside the room. She pushed a dresser against the door and held it against the door with her feet. She also told dispatch that Mr. West told her he would go down swinging if the police came, and that Mr. West had access to numerous firearms.

"Just as important as the call to 911 by Ms. West is the information that dispatch provided to the law enforcement officers who went to the West residence. I reviewed the CAD records, the statements of Deputy Clary and the West Richland officers who went to the scene.

"The dispatch information that was provided to law enforcement officers included the report of the assault, that she was barricaded in a room, that Mr. West was threatening the reporting party and any police officer who came to the scene, that "he will go down swinging if any officer comes," and later, that he had a shotgun in his hand. Of special concern was the CAD report that the reporting party whispered that she was holding a dresser against the door with her foot. Mr. West's appearance on the porch corroborated what Ms. West had told dispatch, giving extra credibility to the threat.

"Deputy Clary's recorded interview is consistent with that information. He stated he pulled over to read the CAD and heard the radio call. When Deputy Clary went to the scene, he understood that there already was a physical DV, that the male said that if cops came, he's going down swinging, that the female had barricaded herself, and that the male had access to multiple guns.

"The West Richland police officers who went to the scene were also asked about what they had learned from dispatch. All of the officers had similar understandings.

"After Deputy Clary got to the scene, Mr. West unexpectedly walked out to the porch holding a long gun in one hand. He ignored repeated calls by the police to drop the gun. Those commands were not only heard by Deputy Clary and other officers, but by numerous neighbors who were near the West residence at the time.

"Deputy Clary stated that it appeared to him that Mr. West was holding the long firearm by the firing handle and that he at one time was pointing the muzzle at citizens and police. That was corroborated by other officers. West Richland Police Officer Doshier stated that Mr. West came out, ignored commands, turned left and levelled his shotgun before he was shot. Officer Doshier said that Mr. West could have shot his firearm. Officer Flores said he saw the barrel of Mr. West's long gun point up.

"Deputy Clary also stated that he saw Mr. West turn as if to go back inside the West residence. That is also corroborated by the other officers, and is consistent with the location and angles of the bullet wounds.

"Deputy Clary states he was concerned for both the officers and citizens outside the residence, and for the female inside the residence. I find that those concerns were justified. Of course, my finding was after many briefings on the case and a lengthy review of the witness statements and police reports. Deputy Clary had to make his decision in a matter of seconds. It is impossible to know what Mr. West would have done if he had been allowed to either return inside the residence or remain on the porch, pointing his shotgun at officers and citizens.However, given his prior refusal to follow repeated commands to drop his shotgun, his belligerent responses to the actions, and his prior actions against his wife that caused her to call 911, there was a substantial chance that Mr. West would have injured or killed someone. Given that, Deputy Clary made the correct, if very sad, decision to fire shots at Mr. West."

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