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WSP to answer questions about Walmart shooting
In light of details leaked on Thursday by Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge to a Utah newspaper, the Washington State Patrol has announced it won’t wait for the Prosecutor’s Office to hold an official press conference about the Jan. 23 shooting at the Port Orchard Walmart store.
“I was advised about 20 minutes ago that the WSP would engage in a little damage control,” said Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. “Obviously, this isn’t how we’d planned for this to go.”
According to WSP spokesman Bob Calkins, WSP completed its investigation into the shooting and had intended to release its report as early as this week.
“But after consulting with all the offices involved,” Calkins said, “it was decided that the Kitsap Prosecutor’s Office would take the lead and hold a press conference in a week or two so that everyone would be informed.”
Hauge, however, jumped the gun on Thursday and informed a reporter from the Salt Lake Tribune it was 31-year-old Anthony Martinez, not a Kitsap County deputy, who killed 13-year-old Astrid Valdivia during the Walmart incident.
Martinez then committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest.
Deputies had responded around 3 p.m. on Jan., 23 to what Calkins termed a “report of inappropriate behavior” between Martinez and Valdivia, a runaway with whom he had fled Utah five days earlier.
When the deputies arrived at the store, they confronted Martinez and, while they were escorting him to his vehicle, he broke free and began shooting as he ran toward a nearby wooded area.
The two deputies, John Stacy and Andrew Ejde, were wounded before they could return fire.
At the same time, a third deputy, Krista McDonald, arrived in her vehicle from the rear of the store and, seeing the shooting, returned fire.
Witnesses say at some point Valdivia ran from the vehicle toward Martinez and was struck and killed by what was believed to be stray gunfire.
Hauge, however, confirmed to the Utah paper that Martinez shot Valdivia twice, then turned they gun on himself.
A bullet from McDonald’s gun struck Martinez in the leg, but the fatal would was delivered to his heart from his own weapon.
Valdivia was never hit by gunfire from McDonald.
“We had planned to wait until the Prosecutor’s Office held its press conference to let all the information come out,” Calkins said. “But since details have started to trickle out, we’re prepared to answer any questions people may have about the shooting sooner rather than later.”
More details will be published as they become available.