A police officer from Olympia shot two men who tried to steal beer from a grocery store. According to the officer he was assaulted with a skateboard early on Wednesday. After the shooting a 21-year-old man was critically injured and the second one, who was 24 years old, was in a stable condition.
The officer, Ryan Donald, had been working at the Olympia Police Department for three years. He declared that before opening the fire he had issued a verbal warning. The two stepbrothers who were shot were black and the officer was white. Ronnie Roberts, Olympia Police Chief, said that he does not believe that race had anything to do with the incident. According to the chief deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, Brad Watkins, two skateboards were collected from the scene. He also said that the investigation is likely to last three to six weeks.
The shooting took place at around 1 AM. According to an employee the two men who were identified as Bryson Chaplin (21) and Andre Thompson (24) threw the beers at him and afterwards ran away. Ronnie Roberts explained that one of them was shot in the confrontation before they both ran into the woods. After they appeared again multiple shots were fired. Roberts added that Donald felt threatened in the confrontation and discharged the firearm.
Officer Donald was placed on administrative leave while waiting for the investigation. Brad Watkins declared that the Olympia police will not be involved in the investigation.
This incident occurred at a time when US has faced multiple fatal police confrontations. This has placed law enforcement agencies under investigation regarding the use of force especially against minorities. The shooting is under the investigation of a team formed of detectives from multiple agencies. In a news conference Ronnie Roberts remarked:
“We are committed to helping our community work through this difficult circumstance and help us understand this tragic event.”
The incident caused a series of protest in Olympia, a city which has about 48.000 people with the black population representing only 2%. The protests started on Thursday evening. The crowd held signs with “We Are Grieving” and “Race is a Factor”. The demonstrators gathered first at the park and afterwards marched almost a mile to the Olympia police headquarters. The protesters also chanted “No Justice, No Peace” and “Black Lives Matter” and also the names of the two men who were shot. Crystal Chaplin, the mother of the victims, said that it is heartbreaking to see that her children ended up in the hospital for something stupid.
Image Source: Huffington Post