Who is Kevin Peterson Jr.? BLM Protests After Man Gunned Down by Police in Vancouver

A Black man was shot and killed by police in Vancouver, Washington on Thursday night. Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters later converged on the area to demand answers.

Kevin Peterson Jr., 21, was left lying on the ground for eleven hours after the fatal shot, according to his family and a witness who spoke to Newsweek.

The shooting, which took place near the 6800 block of NE Hwy 99 in the Hazel Dell area, occurred just before 6 p.m. according to a statement released by the Clark County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's office confirmed its deputies "were involved in a shooting" but did not release any further details.

Footage shared by witnesses shows a crowd of up to 40 protesters chanting the victim's name in the parking lot outside the U.S. Bank.

"Kevin Peterson. Scream his name," the crowd is heard yelling.

"Who's lives matter? Black lives matter," others add.

A Portland woman who drove across the border to attend the scene spoke to Newsweek as she drove home around 6 a.m. PDT on Friday.

"They left his body out there for almost exactly 12 hours," the woman, who did not wish to be identified, said. "His mom just broke down. I've never heard a sound like that."

The witness said she watched as Peterson's parents were taken to identify the body in the early hours of the morning but criticised police for "prioritising getting his car out of there before his body."

By 5:30 a.m. she said the family and remaining crowd had left the scene.

Photojournalist Sean Bascom, who was on the scene, told Newsweek that members of Peterson's family had spoken with him and confirmed the death.

Bascom said the family was "waiting for another police department to investigate" as the Clark County Sheriff's "cannot investigate their own officer shootings."

He said Washington State Police, the Battle Ground Police Department, and the Camas Police Department would all be involved in the investigation, according to a Washington State trooper who gave updates from the scene.

Bascom also shared a photo taken from the night showing a metal door with the words "Kevin Peterson Jr was lynched tonight" scrawled on the front.

One witness, who wanted only to be identified by his first name, Dan, said he was driving along Highway 99 when he saw several police cars speed into the U.S. Bank parking lot.

The man told Oregon Live there was a Black man in the parking lot, "just hopping around, looking worried."

He said officers pulled up and exited their cars with guns drawn and quickly fired.

"And all of a sudden we just start hearing 'pop pop pop pop,'" he said. "We didn't understand how fast it happened."

The witness said the man who was shot "looked really scared" as police arrived and appeared to have his hands in his pockets.

Joseph Webster, 18, also he saw an altercation between police and a person who appeared to be running, before hearing "lots of shots."

Webster said he was in the back of a business working with a customer when he heard a screeching of tires across the street at the U.S. Bank parking lot.

"You can't help but look with all the tires screeching," he told The Columbian.

He said he then heard "lots of shots."

A GoFundMe page set up to raise money to cover funeral costs describes Peterson as a "beautiful young man" who was a father to a baby girl.

"Kevin (KP) Peterson Jr. is an unarmed black man who was murdered by police in Vancouver, WA tonight," the page reads.

"He has a daughter. He was only 21. He was a beautiful young man and the police have murdered him. Remember these things when the police tried to soil his name and reputation."

Peterson's family said police did not share any information with them until hours after the shooting occurred.

A 24-year-old man named Marquis who claimed to be Peterson's brother wrote over Twitter just before midnight PDT: "Feds ain't even tellin US on the scene what happened. We haven't even been able to see my f***n brother."

He later added: ".... talking bout due to laws and protocols we can't see my brother. Why are those followed more strictly than police just f***n shooting us?!? My little brother is a human being."

Around 4 a.m. the man spoke with Newsweek from the scene, saying "almost 12 hours later from it all happening and ... they [police] haven't said anything to us."

Another witness also described the events unfolding, saying "cops have not told them [the family] anything."

"They say the body is still in the street; has been since 6pm. It's almost 1am," Mac Smiff wrote over Twitter.

Photos shared from the scene show the words, "A black man was lynched tonight" scrawled across the road.

Unconfirmed reports have circulated online that say Peterson was fleeing from police when he was shot multiple times.

One man who witnessed the events unfold said he was parked in his car with his family when he witnessed police shoot the man.

"Cops pulled in and in less than 5 seconds they opened fire," Dan Uphoff wrote over the SWESA SW WA Emergency Services Alerts Facebook page.

"I'm normally the biggest police supporter. But me and my family after seeing this.."

"We was on ft and I heard the gunshots UNNECESSARY amount for 1 person!" another woman wrote over Twitter.

An independent investigation is being headed by the Camas Police Department, according to the Clark County Sheriff's Office.

"Camas Police will be putting out further news releases regarding details of the investigation. No further information is being released at this time," a statement released Thursday night read.

More protests converged on area Friday night.

Newsweek has contacted the Clark County Sheriff's Office and the Camas Police Department for comment.

Correction 11/3/20, 4:30 a.m. ET: The headline of this article was updated to clarify that it was not the Vancouver Police Department that fired the shots. The article was updated to include information from Sean Bascom.