Crime

Deputy shoots, kills man in West Richland standoff

Officer-involved shooting

Officials investigate on Wednesday an officer-involved shooting that occurred Tuesday night in the 3700 block of Hazelwood Drive in West Richland.
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Officials investigate on Wednesday an officer-involved shooting that occurred Tuesday night in the 3700 block of Hazelwood Drive in West Richland.

A Benton County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man carrying a shotgun in a Tuesday night standoff in West Richland.

Deputy John Clary was accompanying West Richland police officers at 10:40 p.m. as they responded to a report that Douglas West, 46, was threatening his 50-year-old wife, Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher said.

Police did not say whether West attacked the woman before her call to police.

She barricaded herself in a bedroom at a home in the 3700 block of Hazelwood Drive and called 911, Hatcher said. Through the door, she heard West threatening to “go down swinging” if officers came to the residence.

She told dispatchers he was arming himself with a shotgun and a handgun.

When officers and the deputy arrived at the home, West came outside with the shotgun and refused to listen to commands, Hatcher said.

Clary shot him, Hatcher said. He dropped to the ground and was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police didn’t say how many times West was shot or where.

It would have been difficult for Clary to use non-lethal force, such as a Taser, from where he was taking cover, Hatcher said. He would have needed to move into the open, and within 20 feet to connect with both of the probes, which would have given West the chance to shoot him.

His wife was found safe inside the home, and the officers and deputy were not injured.

The shooting is being investigated by the Tri-City Special Investigations Unit, Hatcher said. Richland police are leading the investigation.

Clary is on paid administrative leave while the unit investigates the incident. Hatcher said it’s a very methodical process that is designed to be transparent.

“It’s a tragedy on all sides,” Hatcher said. “I ask people to be patient and let the process work so we get the correct and accurate information out there as soon as we can.”

Clary’s law enforcement career started in 1994, and he spent most of it as a Federal Way police officer. He began working for the department in 1996, according to his LinkedIn profile, and worked his way up to lieutenant before coming to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

He has led classes on handling active shooters and chemical munitions, as well as using non-lethal weapons. His profile also lists him as a sniper and a SWAT instructor.

Federal Way Deputy Police Chief Kyle Sumpter described Clary as a competent, intelligent and skilled officer.

“He was a good solid employee and a good solid police officer as well,” Sumpter said.

The deputy chief, who joined the Federal Way Police Department when it was created, said he is not aware of Clary being involved in any shootings while he worked for the city.

Clary also appears to own and operate Equalizer Polygraph and Investigations. He did not respond to an attempt to reach him through the company email.

Since starting at the sheriff’s office a few months ago, Clary has been a model employee, Hatcher said. He moved quickly through field training operations and has not been involved in any other shootings.

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