At least three out of the four Vancouver Police Department officers involved in the Jan. 9 fatal shooting of a man have previously shot a person while on duty in recent years.
Investigators on Monday identified officers Timothy Pfeifer, Christopher Bohatch, Ryne Briley and Monica Hernandez as the four officers on administrative leave following the shooting death of Luis Ku Huitzil.
Investigators did not say which officers shot their firearms at Ku Huitzil. At least one officer shot a 40 millimeter, less-lethal round at the man. The investigation is being led by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a Vancouver police statement shortly after the shooting, the officers responded to a disturbance call at a mobile home park and Ku Huitzil confronted officers with a knife. A resident at the mobile home park – located in the North Image neighborhood – had called 911 around 12:25 a.m. Callers had “locked themselves in their bedroom” before escaping through windows, a Vancouver police spokesperson said.
Much about Ku Huitzil remains unknown. According to the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office, Ku Huitzil was 45 years old. His residence has been listed as “unknown.” He died of multiple gunshot wounds, the medical examiner’s office said.
Ku Huitzil had been staying at one of the manufactured homes at the mobile home park, the Sky Ridge Estates. One of the residents told OPB there was a disagreement about rent prior to the 911 call. The resident said he had not known him very long.
While investigators have yet to disclose more information about the night of the shooting, at least three of the involved officers have been involved in shootings in the past, records show. One of them was fatal.
Pfeifer, 41, was among four officers who shot and killed Sebastian Lewandowski on Nov. 25, 2014. Lewandowski, a German citizen, had reportedly threatened to kill a woman he was staying with, started a fire at their apartment complex and pointed a plastic rifle at responding police, according to investigative documents.
Bohatch, 37, shot Demarcus Roundtree on Nov. 22, 2018, during a traffic stop. Roundtree, according to investigative documents, had been driving a stolen Honda. Roundtree was unarmed, the records show.
Briley, 32, shot Irving Rodriguez on Nov. 26, 2020 while responding a domestic disturbance call. Rodriguez, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, had reportedly been fighting with his father and grandmother. Mobile crisis teams managed to calm him down, records show, but Briley shot him after Rodriguez reportedly swung a baseball bat during an arrest attempt.
Prosecutors ultimately deemed all three shootings justified. Internal affairs reviews of the shootings involving Bohatch and Pfeifer exonerated both officers. Information about any internal affairs review of Briley’s shooting was not immediately available.
The fourth officer, Hernandez, 42, has been with the Vancouver Police Department since 2011. She had previously worked with the Los Angeles and Camas, Washington, police departments. OPB has no records of Hernandez ever being involved in a shooting.