On early Thursday, an Olympia police officer gunned down two young black males that were allegedly trying to steal several bottles of beer from a grocery store. Witnesses reported that the two men were not armed when the shooting occurred.
The law enforcement officer said that the two suspects became aggressive and assaulted him with a skateboard. After the shooting both men were taken to a hospital, one of them in critical condition, but they had high chances of survival. The case is under investigation by several investigators from various agencies.
On Thursday evening, hundreds of people rallied to protest against the shooting outside a police station carrying placards that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Race is a factor.” Protesters said they were there to express their discontent with police aggressiveness when members of black community were involved.
But an Olympia police spokesperson said that although the two men were black and the officer who shot them was white, there was no clear indication that race was a factor in the shooting.
The police department also stated that they were committed to help community get past the “difficult circumstances” by releasing a comprehensive report on the situation. The investigation will last from three weeks to one and a half months, police said.
The two skateboarders’ names were also disclosed: 24-year-old Andre Thompson and 21-year-old Bryson Chaplin. Both of them were stepbrothers. Their mother told reporters that it was heartbreaking to see her beloved children shot down “over something stupid.”
The Washington officer involved in the Olympia shooting is Ryan Donald who said he was called by Safeway employees on Thursday morning to settle the case of two men caught shoplifting beers at their store. Store managements said that the two African Americans became violent and threw the beer at the employees who tried to stop them.
Moments later the officer reported twice: once when he located the men and second time after he had shot them.
“I believe one of them is hit, both of them are running,”
he told dispatchers.
He also reported that he was hit with a skateboard by one of the two “very aggressive” men. When he was pointing the gun at them he called for backup but seconds later he cried that shots were fired and that one aggressor was hit. Soon afterward, he said that the other man was down, too.
Although the officer was not harmed, his chief said that he had the right to self-defense whenever somebody was holding an object that could be later used as a deadly weapon. Donald was not carrying a body camera.
Image Source: The Olympian
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