Two Longview police officers who responded to a domestic violence assault reportedly shot and killed Henry Stephen Rakoz Jr. of Longview, later identified by the Cowlitz County Coroner's Office, in the 3000 block of Olympia Way near 32nd Avenue on Sunday night.
The Clark County Major Crimes Team is investigating the shooting, which took place just before 10:30 p.m.
Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha said the two officers were told Rakoz was an assault suspect, had left the house and was possibly armed. When the officers later found him, a confrontation developed and the two officers shot and killed Rakoz, the chief said.
Cowlitz County Coroner Tim Davidson said Rakoz, 47, of Longview, was pronounced dead at the hospital. An autopsy established the cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death as homicide. ("Homicide" in this medical context is not an accusation of criminal intent.)
Rakoz Jr. had a similar run-in with police on Sept. 4, 2016. He was arrested after he reportedly charged at officers attempting to confront him about a report that he fired his rifle in the air during a dispute with his wife. In that incident, officers first used pepper spray, then a taser, before forcing Rakoz onto the ground when the taser was ineffective.
Jeremy Padron, 28, who lives on Olympia Way, said he witnessed the fatal shooting, since it took place right in front of his home.
Padron said he saw two officers tell a suspect to freeze and drop his weapon. The suspect continued to move toward the street and did not drop his weapon, so officers opened fire, Padron said. He said he heard more than 10 shots fired.
Padron said he never saw or heard Rakoz fire at the officers. He was not sure what weapon the suspect was being told to drop, and did not know Rakoz, since he said he recently moved to the neighborhood.
“As far as I’m concerned, those officers did a good job,” Padron said. “My family is here, my neighbors are here. It is a sad situation that the guy lost his life, but you have to comply with the police.”
Padron said Rakoz's niece contacted him on Facebook — he was filming the incident on Facebook Live — and told him Rakoz had “attacked” her family earlier in the day and might have made statements about hurting others.
The officers have not been identified and have been placed on administrative leave, the customary procedure in cases like this.