An attorney for Olympia police officer Ryan Donald says his client shot Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin in self-defense May 21.
Saxon Rodgers, an Olympia attorney, said Friday that Donald was attacked by both men after officers responded to a call from the west Olympia Safeway store. Chaplin, 21, and Thompson, 24, were suspected of shoplifting from the supermarket.
“My client’s position is one of absolute self-defense,” Rodgers said. “He was being attacked by both men, and his actions were justified.”
Rodgers said Donald hired him shortly after the May 21 shooting, and that he was present when Ryan made his official statement to detectives May 26.
But, because the investigation is ongoing, Rodgers said he is restricted from providing specific details about the case.
“(Donald) would like to get his story out there,” Rodgers said. “He’s being unfairly judged. But we can’t release all of the information.”
Rodgers’ account of the shooting varies from the one given by Seattle attorney David Beninger, who represents Chaplin and Thompson.
Beninger told The Olympian on Wednesday that his clients were shot in the back, and there’s no evidence that they attacked Donald.
“These two young men were shot in the back,” Beninger said. “What were they doing, attacking him as they ran away?”
He said that Chaplin is recovering from injuries at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and is paralyzed from the waist down. Thompson is recovering from his injuries at home.
An official report of the incident won’t be available for several weeks.
A task force made up of several South Sound law enforcement agencies, led by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, is investigating the shooting. Once the information is compiled, the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office will decide whether Chaplin, Thompson and Donald will face charges.