Family confirms Clark County sheriff’s deputies shot 30-year-old Black man

By Troy Brynelson (OPB)
Feb. 6, 2021 4:38 p.m. Updated: Feb. 6, 2021 9:13 p.m.

The man shot by Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies Thursday night is a 30-year-old Black man, his family confirmed to OPB on Friday.

Jenoah Donald, of Vancouver, was shot in the unincorporated community of Hazel Dell, Washington. He remains hospitalized, investigators said Saturday. The shooting occurred less than a mile from where a drug task force killed Kevin Peterson Jr. close to three months ago.

A man wearing a baseball cap looks into the camera. Behind him is a river with grassy banks and trees.

A photo provided by the family of Jenoah Donald, 30. Family members confirmed Friday that Clark County Sheriff's Office deputies had shot Donald.

Contributed by family of Jenoah Donald

Donald’s mother, Susan Zawacky, said she knew very little about the events that led to her son’s shooting, which is being investigated by an independent team under a relatively new state law.

“We’re just not getting answers,” Zawacky said. “I have about as much information as you do.”

“I don’t know how I feel right now, to be honest with you,” Zawacky later added.

Donald remains on life support, according to the Vancouver chapter of the NAACP. On Saturday, the organization issued a statement saying Donald had died, but law enforcement officials released an update confirming Donald remains hospitalized.

The family asked for no demonstrations to be held, the NAACP’s Vancouver chapter said in its statement. Such demonstrations have occurred regularly in the wake of police killings of Black Americans.

“They are in shock and are trying to grieve,” the organization said. “Any public demonstrations done at this time would be in direct violation of the family’s wishes.”

According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement initiated a traffic stop at 7:41 p.m. Thursday near the intersection of Northeast 68th Street and Northeast 2nd Avenue. The agency did not give any detail on what initiated the interaction.


The person shot, according to the press release, was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition. A GoFundMe for Donald appeared Friday afternoon to raise funeral expenses.

“(Donald’s family) have been notified that there is nothing more that the doctors can do,” the organizer of the fundraiser wrote. “This is an unexpected tragedy and the family is hoping to raise funds to cover the cost of his funeral expenses to lay him to rest.”

On Friday, neither Clark County Sheriff’s Office nor investigators released any new information. It remains unknown who the deputies were that shot, how many shots they fired, and why officers came into contact with Donald.

Four deputies were involved, and one of them fired their weapon, the sheriff’s office stated Saturday.

Neighbors said police stayed at the scene well into the night.

Steve Dean, a retired 70-year-old, said he was watching television in his basement when he heard a gunshot. Then he heard a crash into his wooden fence. When he looked outside, he saw marked sheriff’s office vehicles and a car in his fence.

“I could see the fence was pushed over,” he said. Dean said he couldn’t see the driver, only his feet. He said when he stepped outside, law enforcement officers told him to go back into his house.

Across the street, neighbor Stephanie Bates said she didn’t see anything but later learned a car drove across her lawn heading northbound before crossing Northeast 68th Avenue and colliding with Dean’s fence.

Bates said when she looked out her window, she saw three law enforcement vehicles — none of them appearing to be unmarked or undercover.

“The person hadn’t been taken out of the car yet, so they were basically trying to get the person out of the car onto the gurney,” she said.

Like Dean, she said law enforcement told her and her family to stay indoors.

The shooting comes about three months after Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies shot and killed 21-year-old Kevin Peterson Jr., who was also Black, during a botched drug bust, as first reported by OPB.

The investigation into that shooting completed in late November and was first released to the public in installments in December. A criminal review of that case is still underway.