Major Crimes Team: Man killed by Vancouver police had stolen gun, fought with officers

Deadly officer-involved shooting in the Hazel Dell area March 7. (KPTV)

VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - A man who was killed by Vancouver police had fought with officers and grabbed a stolen gun from his pocket before he was shot, according to the Regional Major Crimes Team.

Investigators released additional details Friday about the March 7 shooting.

Carlos M. Hunter, 43, of Vancouver, was killed following a traffic stop as part of a drug investigation on the 2500 block of Northeast 78th Street in the Hazel Dell area.

A search warrant had been obtained prior to the shooting for Hunter, his car and his home for suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

An operational plan was put in place, which indicated it was “preferable” to engage Hunter outside of his home if possible, either on foot or in a vehicle.

The plan included information that Hunter was “stated to be a gang member,” while releases following the shooting stated Hunter was a “known gang member.”

When the traffic stop was conducted March 7, investigators said officers were in a fully marked Vancouver Police Department vehicle and they were wearing clothing that identified them as law enforcement officers.

In total, three Vancouver officers and one Department of Corrections officers were involved in the stop.

Officers said Hunter was communicating with them at first, but then he became increasingly argumentative and refused to get out of his car or follow orders.

Police said Hunter continued to place his hands down near his waist where they could not be seen, despite repeated commands to keep his hands up where officers could see them.

Officers tried to physically remove hunter from the car, but a struggle ensued. Investigators said three officers used a Taser on Hunter, but the Taser deployments were ineffective.

Officers said they saw a handgun in Hunter’s right front pants pocket and one officer shouted to the others that the suspect had a gun. An officer partially inside the car who was physically struggling with Hunter released his hold and jumped back.

Officers said Hunter then reached down and grabbed the handle of the gun as he attempted to remove it from his pocket.

Detective Dennis Devlin and Detective Colton Price fired their guns at Hunter from opposite sides of his car.

No other shots were fired.

A Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun was seized as evidence. Investigators said it was the gun seen by officers in Hunter’s possession before he was shot. The gun was reported as stolen from a Vancouver home in 2017.

Hunter’s family told FOX 12 last week that he hadn’t been in a gang since he was a teenager and that he “changed his life and he was doing the things that you’re supposed to, to better yourself to be an active member of society.”

Court records show Hunter has a criminal history, but his last felony conviction was nearly 20 years ago.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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