Vancouver mother opens up about deadly officer-involved shooting - KPTV - FOX 12

Vancouver mother opens up about deadly officer-involved shooting in her home

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Ashly Oliver-Edwards (KPTV) Ashly Oliver-Edwards (KPTV)

A Vancouver mother is speaking out about a traumatic experience when her kids came face-to-face with a home intruder.

That break-in was part of a police chase that ended with a Vancouver Police officer shooting and killing the suspect.

It happened at their apartment complex on Northeast 66th Avenue in Vancouver last Friday morning, and the family has been staying at a motel ever since.

The motel room is a small space for four energetic kids, but Ashly Oliver-Edwards is grateful for every chaotic moment with her babies.

“I just hugged them and I’m thankful they’re alive,” Oliver-Edwards recalled when she first saw them after the incident.

They have no intentions of going back to their Vancouver apartment, after an intruder was shot and killed there just days ago while Oliver-Edwards was at work. Thankfully a family friend was there with the kids.

“My kids don’t want to go back there, and I couldn’t even think of taking them back there to relive such a traumatic situation,” said Oliver-Edwards.

After hearing what happened after she left for work Friday morning, she couldn’t believe what they had been through.

“My son woke up to the sound of [the man] breathing heavily and pacing, and thought it was maybe his dad. When he got up, he soon noticed that it wasn’t his dad,” Oliver-Edwards said.

The man was 25-year-old Justin Burton of Vancouver, who was accused of stealing a car and slamming into a van outside a senior living center, before breaking into the family’s nearby apartment.

Oliver-Edwards' 12-year-old son came face-to-face with the intruder, but was able to round up his siblings and get into a bedroom.

“The man saw him and went into the kitchen. He shuffled through a bunch of stuff, and evidently grabbed a knife and approached my son and he was scared,” Oliver-Edwards said.

Barricaded in a bedroom, their family friend noticed flashing police lights outside the window.

“He opened the window and police said, ‘Freeze!’ and he said, ‘No, I’m not the suspect, but I’m in here with four kids, get this man out of here,” Oliver-Edwards told FOX 12.

And within minutes, “They heard four shots and the body dropping. Then police announced themselves and came into the bedroom where they were all sitting,” Oliver-Edwards said.

The suspect was dead, shot by Vancouver Police Officer Ed Letarte.

Now, Oliver-Edwards is seeing the aftermath of the trauma.

“My youngest one, when it’s bedtime he starts throwing up and gets sick, real nervous. They just make me reassure them that I will not take them back there. I won’t do that to them,” she says.

Oliver-Edwards is also trying to cope and create some normally for her kids.

“I don’t know how I feel. I just feel like I need to stay strong for them and tend to their needs and make sure they find stability so they can begin the healing process and get back to their normal lives,” Oliver-Edwards explained.

The Vancouver officer involved in this case is on leave, which is standard protocol.

The Regional Major Crimes Team continues the investigation.

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