Family and friends of Kfin Karuo, a Vancouver resident of Chuukese descent, have identified him as the person shot and killed by Clark County Sheriff’s deputies early Sunday morning a short distance from his home. The Chuukese people originally come from Micronesia.
Investigators on Tuesday said two deputies are on paid leave. The investigators — part of a regional task force known as the “Southwest Washington Independent Investigative Response Team” that convenes when officers use deadly force — did not name the officers.
The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Karuo’s identity. Karuo died by a gunshot wound to the torso, the medical examiner said.
Many details of the event remain unclear. Investigators said at around 2:22 a.m. Sunday deputies attempted to stop Karuo’s car near the intersection of Northeast 122nd Avenue and Northeast 49th Street. Karuo “failed to comply,” investigators said, and deputies used a pursuit intervention technique to stop him.
On Monday afternoon, skid marks remained clearly visible on the road and traced up to a berm near the Oak Creek Mobile Home Park. A memorial of red roses and other items rested on the berm. Several bullet holes pierced a mobile home behind it.
Investigators said Tuesday that Karuo “was armed with a handgun and pointed the gun at the deputies, who then fired at the suspect.” It’s unclear yet if there were any witnesses to the shooting or if any footage captured the encounter. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office does not use body or dashboard cameras.
According to investigators, Karuo managed to flee a short distance. Lorenzo Soriano, the 21-year-old resident of the mobile home struck by bullets, told OPB that the person shot lay in his driveway for several hours afterward.
Karuo lived in a nearby apartment complex, according to family and friends. A cousin, who provided only the name “Estie,” said Karuo was 28, His family held a Monday remembrance, which was first reported by The Oregonian/OregonLive.
“We’re absolutely at a loss with this,” Estie said. “Anyone can think what they like, but they didn’t know him. He was a brother, a son, a father, a husband, an uncle. And he was one of the most impactful people that I’ve ever come across in my life, and I meet new people every day.”
Multiple people close to the Karuo family who declined to go on the record separately told OPB that Karuo’s father also died shortly after learning of his son’s death.
The shooting became the third fatal shooting by Clark County Sheriff’s deputies in a year. A regional drug task force shot and killed 21-year-old Kevin Peterson Jr. during an attempted drug sting on Oct. 29, 2020. Then, a deputy shot and killed 30-year-old Jenoah Donald after a traffic stop turned into a physical confrontation.
All three people killed were people of color. Attorneys representing the families of Peterson and Donald have said they intend to sue Clark County over the killings. Independent prosecutors who reviewed the cases deemed both justified.
Karuo was a father of four, according to Estie. She described Karuo as hailing from a large extended family where cousins referred to each other only as brother and sister. She said he enjoyed singing and playing basketball.
“He went out of his way to make sure that everyone was good, always, and check-in with them. To see how the kids were doing, how the parents were doing,” Estie said. “There was no such things as cousins.”
It’s unclear still how Karuo became a person of interest to deputies. Investigators said deputies had probable cause to arrest him for first-degree assault with a handgun, but there are no public details yet about that reported incident.