OLYMPIA -- Police officer Ryan Donald is under investigation for shooting brothers Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin after he stopped them over a possible theft attempt and, he said, they attacked him with their skateboards.
“All he did was defend himself from serious bodily harm and possible death,” Saxon Rodgers, Donald's attorney, said Thursday.
Donald`s lawyer insists the officer faced a life-or-death situation when confronting the brothers on Cooper Point Road.
“Both individuals who were detained attacked the police officer seriously,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers added that he and his client were advised by detectives not to talk in detail about the case until the investigation is over. But he said his client tells him both brothers attacked him at the same time.
Investigators say Thompson and Chaplin were suspects in a shoplifting and possible assault at a Safeway store shortly before the shooting. Police say Donald spotted the brothers on Cooper Point Road and tried to question the suspects. The shooting happened after some type of altercation.
“He is frustrated that his side is not in the media because he is getting impugned,” Rodgers said of Donald.
On the other side, David Beninger, the lawyer for Thompson and Chaplin, said, “There is no evidence that we have been able to determine at this point, but we are still looking, that they ever attacked the officer.”
The brother's attorney says right now his clients are focused on their recovery as they wait for the investigation to wrap up.
“There are four or five bullet wounds in Bryson,” Beninger said.
He disclosed that Chaplin is currently paralyzed from the waist down while Thompson’s ribs were shattered by a bullet. And he asserts that the officer shot the men from behind.
“We know most of the shots were from the backside and in the back,” Beninger said.
But Donald`s attorney is asking the public not to jump to conclusions.
“Don`t act on non-information and false information. Wait until the whole investigation comes out, (then) you can form whatever opinion you choose,” Rodgers said.
The Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office will get the full investigation by the end of next week. They will have to decide whether any charges will be filed in this case.
The brothers' mom, Crystal Chaplin, told Q13 FOX News on Thursday that if there are any more protests on behalf of the brothers, she wants them to be peaceful.