Clark County officials have identified the man shot and killed by Vancouver police on Sunday at a mobile home park after he reportedly confronted officers with a knife.
Luis Ku Huitzil, 45, died from multiple gunshot wounds, the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office said late Tuesday. The medical examiner’s office listed Ku Huitzil’s residence as “unknown.”
Many details around the shooting also remain unknown. Four Vancouver Police Department officers are on paid leave following the killing, though the agency has not identified them or said how many opened fire.
According to the police department, a resident of the mobile home park – located in the North Image neighborhood – called 911 around 12:25 a.m. Sunday about a “male acquaintance” armed with a knife inside one of the units. The agency also wrote that officers believed Ku Huitzil tried to start a fire.
The man eventually “confronted officers with a knife,” Vancouver police said in a statement. One officer fired a 40 millimeter, less-lethal round at the man.
“But unfortunately the officers had to deploy their firearms to stop the suspect from harming anyone,” Vancouver spokesperson Kim Kapp said in a statement. “The suspect was transported to an area hospital but did not survive.”
The caller, Kapp wrote, and others at the mobile home park had “locked themselves in their bedroom” before calling 911. Among them were two children. They escaped through windows before officers arrived, police said.
It remains unclear if Ku Huitzil did attempt to start a fire. Kapp said “it was believed the suspect had started a fire inside the home,” and that “police did smell something burning” at the scene. Further details, such as the names of the officers involved, have not been made available.
The fatal shooting Sunday is the second police killing in that area since October. Two Clark County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed 28-year-old Kfin Karuo about a mile away on Oct. 17.
The fatal shooting is also the third in the last 12 months. Prior to Karuo’s death, a deputy shot and killed 30-year-old Jenoah Donald during a traffic stop in the unincorporated community of Hazel Dell. Donald’s family plans to sue the sheriff’s office for the shooting.
The killings – which have often involved people of color and people experiencing homelessness – have drawn harsh scrutiny from local civil rights organizations. In November, organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and the National Association for the Advance of Colored People’s Vancouver chapter petitioned the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Vancouver police and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.