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Hundreds Gather for Vigil in Memory of Kevin Peterson Jr.

Signs, candles and flowers were placed around
the U.S. Bank parking lot surrounding the vigil. (Nicki Parker/The Indy)

This story was co-reported by Gracie Newberry and Nick Gibson 

Several hundred people gathered for a candlelight vigil on Friday night in memory of Kevin Peterson Jr., a 21-year-old Black Camas resident who was fatally shot by Clark County Sheriff Deputies on Thursday night. 

The candle-lit crowd began gathering before 7 p.m. in the parking lot of the U.S. Bank branch where Peterson died the previous night. Vigil attendees spilled onto the surrounding sidewalk, chanting “say his name: Kevin Peterson,” and “Black Lives Matter.”

The song “Rise Up” by Andrea Day replayed over a loudspeaker as attendees quietly paid their respects to Peterson. Signs, flowers, and candles decorated the chain-link fence around the parking lot.

Candles were passed out among the crowd. (Nicki Parker/The Indy)

Across the street, a group of counter-protesters stood waving Trump 2020, thin blue line, and American flags. Several were open carrying firearms. 

A few confrontations broke out between the two groups outside of the vigil. At one point, a counter-protester sprayed several people with bear mace, one of which was a toddler. 

An unidentified person in a silver sedan was seen driving over the vigil in the U.S. Bank parking lot after the gathering had ended. 

Later that night, a protest began at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver; counter-protesters followed. The Black Lives Matter protesters marched through downtown before eventually stopping between the Clark County Courthouse and the Federal Building on Franklin St.  

Several law enforcement officers dressed in riot gear were stationed outside of the Federal Building. The crowd chanted “say his name: Kevin Peterson” at the officers and then continued marching.

More conflicts broke out between counter-protesters and the crowd, reaching a boiling point when a counter-protester in an SUV fired two gunshots into the air.

A few businesses downtown suffered minor damage, such as graffiti and broken windows.

Later that night, a handful of arrests were made after the Clark County Sheriff’s Office deemed the gathering an unlawful assembly. 

 

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