Clark deputies justified in killing of armed Portland woman Amy McCoy
The Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office found that the county sheriff’s deputies who shot and killed a Portland woman armed with a hammer and knife in March were justified in using deadly force.
Deputy Tom Yoder used a Taser to try to stop 38-year-old Amy Jean McCoy from advancing toward him and Deputy Joe McLoughlin, but when that failed to stop her, they feared for their lives and shot her several times, according to a letter dated Thursday that outlines the decision.
The letter, written by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Scott Jackson to Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins, gives the following account of events:
The incident began when a witness reported at about 4:20 p.m. on March 13 that he saw a Mini Cooper driven by McCoy traveling at a high rate of speed north in the southbound lanes of Northeast Covington Road in the Five Corners area.
The Mini Cooper nearly struck two oncoming vehicles, continued traveling at a high rate of speed and eventually crashed into a tree or pole near 7500 N.E. Covington Road.
McCoy was seen leaving the car wearing a scuba wet suit and motorcycle helmet and throwing multiple items from her vehicle. She then ran through multiple properties, climbed over fences and reportedly tried to push her way into a residence. She dropped a backpack and helmet along the way.
Mike Flader, who lives at 9606 N.E. 81st St., found McCoy in his backyard, where she had gone into a shed and came back out holding a large knife and hammer.
“Both are raised up high, in what appears to be a position ready to strike,” Jackson wrote.
Deputies Yoder and McLoughlin arrived to the confrontation and commanded McCoy to drop the weapons.
McCoy turned and began approaching the deputies, yelling, “kill me, kill me,” though Yoder said that she may have said, “I’m gonna kill you.”
Yoder used a Taser on McCoy, but that failed to stop her. As McCoy continued to advance, Yoder feared for McLoughlin’s life and fired several shots. McLoughlin, who also fired at McCoy, said he feared for his own life as well as Yoder’s and was concerned for Flader, who was still in the backyard.
Other deputies responded and began CPR until fire personnel arrived, but McCoy was pronounced dead at the scene several minutes later.
Lab results revealed that McCoy’s blood contained marijuana, cocaine and amphetamine. Medications and psychedelic mushrooms were collected from McCoy’s car, but further testing did not show any presence of psychoactive substances in McCoy’s system, according to the letter.
Under Washington state law, officers can use deadly force when they believe a suspect, if not apprehended, poses a threat of serious harm to the officer or a threat of serious physical harm to others.
The law goes on to state that type of threat exists when a “suspect threatens a peace officer with a weapon or displays a weapon in a manner that could reasonably be construed as threatening.”
“Applying the statutory and constitutional standards, it is my considered opinion that the conduct of Deputies Yoder and McLoughlin involved the objectively reasonable and justified application of deadly force under the circumstances then confronting them,” Jackson wrote.
Yoder, a 10-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, and McLoughlin, a 27-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, were placed on critical incident leave immediately following the incident and were cleared to return to work on March 31.
Portland woman in mental health crisis shot, killed by Clark County deputies
The woman shot and killed by Clark County sheriff’s deputies Sunday has been identified as a Portland woman.
Amy Jean McCoy, 38, was identified as the woman who allegedly attacked two deputies with a hammer and a knife Sunday in a residential neighborhood, Major Crimes Sgt. Todd Barsness said.
The two patrol deputies involved in the shooting were also identified as Joseph McLoughlin, a 27-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, and Thomas Yoder, a 10-year veteran of sheriff’s office, Barsness said.
The shooting took place shortly before 5 p.m. in a backyard just south of Padden Parkway and east of Intestate 205 in the Five Corners area.
McCoy was allegedly the driver in a single-vehicle crash reported about 20 minutes before she died, according to the sheriff’s office.
Just prior to the crash, witnesses reported seeing a blue Mini Cooper driving erratically near Northeast 76th Street and 94th Avenue. The vehicle veered off the road and crashed in a field, sheriff’s Sgt. Fred Neiman said.
Witnesses said that the woman, who was the only person in the vehicle, walked away from the crash scene while yelling. Neiman said they couldn’t make out what she was saying.
Minutes later, a resident a few blocks north of the crash scene called 911 to report that McCoy was trying to force her way inside of his home, but he managed to keep her out, the news release said. Deputies responded to the scene, in the 9600 block of Northeast 81st Street, and found McCoy in a nearby backyard.
She was armed with a knife and hammer and attacked the two deputies, who fired at her during the altercation, police said.
“They tried to treat her injuries,” Neiman said of the deputies, but “unfortunately, she died at the scene.”
Neither deputy was hurt during the confrontation and both have been placed on paid administrative leave, according to agency policy. The cause and manner of McCoy’s death is under investigation by the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Barsness said that it is too early to say what McCoy’s motive was, but said that both intoxicants and possible mental health issues are being investigated as potential factors in the altercation.
Information such as how many shots were fired and whether both deputies fired their weapons has not yet been determined because McLoughlin and Yoder have not yet been interviewed, Barsness said.
“We’re still in the information-gathering phase,” he said.
Detectives with the Vancouver Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit are investigating the officer-involved shooting. They are seeking additional witnesses to the reportedly reckless driving and single-vehicle crash that occurred prior to the officer-involved shooting.
At one point, the suspect was going northbound in the southbound lanes of Northeast Covington Road and nearly hit two vehicles head-on, Vancouver police said.
Amy Brown McCoy (1977 – 2016)
McCoy, Amy Brown 38 May 28, 1977 Mar. 13, 2016 Amy passed away March 13, 2016. She is survived by her sons, Ian and Coleton, the loves of her life; mother, Marilyn Kaufman; and brothers, Chris (Kelly) and Jeff (Heather). A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 19, 2016, at Hol- man’s Funeral Home, 2610 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a fund that will benefit Amy’s sons, Ian and Coleton McCoy. Donations are being accepted at McCoy Contribution Fund.