Opinion

WSP report should answer questions about shooting

In the nearly two months that have elapsed since the Jan. 23 shootout at Port Ochard’s Walmart store,  a host of questions have cropped up about the incident. Among them:

• What were 31-year-old Anthony Martinez and 13-year-old Astrid Valdivia — both of whom ended up dead — doing in Port Orchard anyway? One theory is that Martinez, a Salt Lake City, Utah, resident, had a friend in town with whom the fugitives were hiding. But that’s never been confirmed.

• What made three Kitsap County deputies respond to Walmart for a reported “suspicious person.” Multiple reports say witnesses saw Martinez brandish a gun at the store, but would someone already wanted by the police actually be so stupid as to flash a weapon in a crowded store?

• What happened between 3 p.m., when the deputies arrived first, and 3:45, when they were wounded by Martinez? If the deputies knew or even suspected he had a concealed weapon, why didn’t they subdue him immediately?

• How did Valdivia end up getting shot, too? Witnesses say when Martinez began firing at the deputies as he tried to run into the nearby woods, Valdivia jumped from their parked van and ran toward him, apparently getting hit in the crossfire.

Was she, too, armed? If not, whose bullet killed her?

We were presumably just a few days away from getting the answers to these and other questions this week when it came out that the Washington State Patrol, which was investigating the incident, had completed its report and was ready to make its findings public.

Then came word the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office was asserting authority over the case and would release the report only after officials there were completely familiar with its contents — perhaps several weeks from now.

Which raises yet another question: Why couldn’t the agency that actually conducted the investigation and already knows the answers conduct the press conference now instead of keeping everyone guessing for a few more weeks?

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