Vancouver police say man shot and killed by officers 'brandished firearms at police'

Vancouver police were involved in a shooting near the courthouse Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Photo: Chopper 2/KATU)

Vancouver police say the man officers shot and killed Thursday “brandished firearms at police” before officers fired their weapons.

In an updated release issued Friday morning, the Vancouver Police Department says witnesses called 911 to report a man near West 12th Street and West Jefferson Street who was pointing handguns at passing vehicles and pedestrians.

When officers responded, they found the man armed, and in the release they said he “brandished firearms at police.” The officers engaged the suspect before two officers fired their weapons and shot and killed the suspect.

No officers were injured.

The man hasn't been officially identified by police, but a KATU crew spoke to people in the area, which is known as a place where homeless services are offered. They've identified him as Michael Pierce.

They say he goes by the name "Satan" on the streets.

Kyla Houchens said she became a mother-figure for him while he lived on the streets.

"I'm hurt. I'm distraught. I feel bad I wasn't able to do anything for him," she said. "I fed him, I gave him a blanket, and from that point on, he called me 'Mom.' Whenever things got bad, he'd come and found me."

Ciera Williams said Pierce was her cousin. She added his schizophrenia and drug addiction pushed his family away, and that she was all he had.

"It's not real," she said. "I got a call last night to come into town to come identify the body because I was the only family member."

They gathered Friday night at the corner where he was killed to hold a candlelight vigil for him.

Joseph Lawson lives kitty-corner to where Pierce was shot. He said officers shot him less than half a football field away.

"The shell casings were right down here and you can't tell me from this distance to that door that they could identify that as a real or fake weapon," said Lawson. "This was just a slaughter, this was a turkey shoot, plain and simple."

A witness said a man was arguing with officers before shots were fired. He said he saw the man fall to the ground.

"I can't accurately give an account of how many rounds were shot, but he was shot and he did go to the ground," said Christopher Thorsen, who works in the area.

Another witness told KATU News he saw Pierce waving around a black object before he was shot.

What he was holding is under investigation.

Pierce's friends and family admit he was unpredictable and suicidal at times, but said he didn't deserve to die this way.

"He didn't know before, but I hope he knows now that he's got a lot more people than he thinks cares. He kept saying, 'I'm alone, no one cares, no one wants me around.' He didn't listen to anyone," said Williams.

Police said the Regional Major Crimes Team is investigating the shooting. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigative agency.

Police say any witnesses who have not spoken with detectives should call the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (360) 397-2120 and provide their contact information.

The officers who fired their guns were put on leave, which is standard procedure.

Pierce was close to his cousin. What she told KATU:

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