Chief says shooting may be 'suicide by cop'

Browning says investigation finished in 3 days because 'it wasn't complicated'

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2007

Police Chief Greg Browning said Thursday the death of Randall Clevenger could be interpreted as "suicide by cop."

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Sgt. Paul Hatch shot Clevenger three times during a short intense standoff last Friday.

Witnesses said Clevenger threatened to kill himself after threatening to kill his victim during an argument that night.

Browning said from time to time people attack police officers, hoping to be killed in response. The first known examples of the phenomenon date back to the early 1980s.

Clevenger "is the only one who knows for fact," Browning said.

Hatch returns to work today, just two days after District Attorney Doug Gardner cleared him, saying he used justifiable force as Clevenger approached with a 4-foot-long sword.

Browning said that three days of investigation were sufficient to investigate the shooting. Such investigations vary with each incident, Browning said. "This wasn't complicated."

Browning said no witnesses saw Hatch pull the trigger.

"People heard the shots," he said.

Browning denied verbal requests for copies of the incident report filed after Friday's shooting and the "use of force" report concluded earlier this week. Browning said the documents were in draft form.

A written request for the incident report was denied by the keeper of records saying the department had up to five days to respond.

• Greg Skinner can bereached at 523-2258, or

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