Probe into Clevenger shooting continues

Juneau police say conclusion is still several weeks away

Posted: Monday, September 03, 2007

The Juneau Police Department investigation into the shooting death of Randall Clevenger is not complete.

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Sgt. Dave Campbell said the conclusion of the internal investigation is several weeks away. The hold-up is Clevenger's death certificate.

Campbell said the state medical examiner will not sign the death certificate before knowing what, if any, chemicals were in Clevenger's system the night he threatened Sgt. Paul Hatch with a samurai sword.

He is waiting for toxicology results from a Minnesota lab, Campbell said.

"Ninety-nine percent of the information is done," Campbell said. "We're pretty clear what happened."

Four days after the shooting, Juneau District Attorney Doug Gardner said Hatch's use of deadly force was justified.

Juneau Police Chief Greg Browning then cleared Hatch to return to duty.

"We draw conclusions without having things finished all the time," Campbell said.

Since Aug. 14, the department has twice interviewed one witness who saw some of what happened when Hatch shot Clevenger.

Fourteen minutes after the shooting, the witness told police he saw Hatch on the path where Clevenger was shot but did not see Clevenger. "I heard him [Hatch] say something like 'Hey, hey, hey,' then I heard three rapid shots. I saw Hatch immediately bend over," the witness said.

On Wednesday, police revisited the shooting site with the witness who saw Hatch leaning over something after hearing three shots.

"One of the things he had a problem with was the view," Campbell said.

The witness saw the incident from a raised deck with a clear view of Hatch's location.

The witness approached Hatch after the shooting and saw Clevenger on the ground. The witness originally thought Hatch had shot a bear, Campbell said

Browning said that the witness did not actually see Hatch fire his gun.

When the investigation is complete, a possibility exists that the conclusion justifying the use of force could change. But, Campbell said with the investigation nearly complete and the bulk of the information gathered a reversal is not probable.

Once the full report is complete, Juneau police expect to release it to the public.

"We want the investigation to be as transparent as possible," Campbell said.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-2258, or greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.



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