Investigation into Chenois Valley incident completed; Officers fired weapons lawfully

In an update to the officer-involved shooting in late August, all officers were found to have acted lawfully.

A release from Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Brad Johansson states that the Grays Harbor County Prosecutor found that the seven local officers who fired on a man following an incident on the Chenois Valley Road were found to have acted within their responsibilities.

On August 31, officers were dispatched to investigate a domestic violence assault involving three family members at 71 Chenois Valley Road outside Hoquiam.  

According to the report, during the altercation an 18-year-old male was shot in the finger while struggling over a gun with his 56-year-old father. A 47-year-old female and mother of the victim had been in an altercation with the father as well. 

The woman called 911 to report the incident and to report she had been threatened by her husband.  

As the 18-year-old and an unrelated witness fled the scene, they saw the man with a rifle and heard a gunshot.  

The Aberdeen Regional Crisis Response Unit, consisting of officers from the Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Hoquiam, and Montesano Police Departments as well as the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office, were called to the scene.

During  negotiations it is believed the male suspect was responsible for blowing up the house and firing numerous rounds in the direction of CRU members.  

No CRU members were hurt.  

Two Grays Harbor County sheriff’s deputies, two Hoquiam PD officers and three Aberdeen PD officers returned fire.  

The house caught fire and eventually burned to the ground.  

The remains of the male suspect and female victim were later recovered by investigators.  

After the incident, an outside investigation into the event was completed and presented to Grays Harbor Prosecutor Katie Svoboda for review.  

On Tuesday, Prosecutor Svoboda announced that she found that the use of force by all seven officers who fired their weapons was lawful. 

She added that there was sufficient evidence to charge the male suspect with several felony crimes if he was not deceased.  

Autopsies were conducted on the suspect and victim.  

No bullet fragments were recovered from the remains of either person.  

Only partial remains of the female were located.  

Investigators recovered approximately 75 % of the male suspects remains.  

There was no evidence of a gunshot wound in the remains.  

No further action will be taken in this case unless new information arises. 

“We are thankful the 18 year old male victim survived this tragic event and we give our condolences to him and his family for their losses.  We are extremely grateful that no law enforcement was injured or killed in the explosions or gunfire that erupted at this scene.  This is a frank reminder of the dangers officers can face at any moment.  We are thankful for all those that responded from law enforcement and fire and rescue.  These strong partnerships help us provide safe and professional service to our community.”