Deputies cleared in officer involved shooting of suspect in homicide

Investigation into homicide continues

Lance Bowers
Lance Bowers

OKANOGAN – The North Central Washington Special Investigations Unit has determined that two Okanogan County Sheriff’s Deputies were justified when they fired on Lance R. Bowers, a 37-year-old armed suspect, after he did not comply with orders and displayed his firearm.

“In connection with the Deputy Involved Shooting from June 3, 2019, I have received notification from Okanogan County Prosecutor (Arian) Noma stating actions taken by Sergeant Tait Everett and Deputy Isaiah Holloway were justified,” said Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley. “The North Central Washington Special Investigations Unit conducted a complete investigation into the shooting and delivered their findings to the prosecutor for his review.”

The day of the shooting, Sgt. Everett and Deputy Halloway were responding to a call from the Aeneas Valley Fire District #16 who had been called out to a vehicle fire on Frosty Creek Road at roughly 4:30 p.m. As they extinguished the fire and checked the vehicle, the firefighters discovered human remains in the trunk.

During the course of their investigation the officers had information that led them to contact Bowers, Tonasket, after witnesses reported having seen him leaving the car fire. Further investigation led the officers to the vicinity of the Aeneas Valley Store where the suspect was confronted at 6:57 p.m., according to Hawley.

When deputies contacted Bowers he is alleged to have presented a firearm and both officers shot and wounded the suspect. Bowers was airlifted to Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee where he was treated and released. He was booked into Chelan County Regional Justice Center in Wenatchee for one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree. He was transferred to Okanogan County Jail the following day.

Bowers is now considered a suspect in the death of the woman in the trunk, who has yet to be identified but an autopsy done in Seattle has determined that she died by foul play.

Hawley said that as his officers’’ actions were determined to be justified by the investigation they have returned to full work status.

“I appreciate the hard work and diligence during the investigation by NCWSIU,” Hawley said. ”The outcome of the investigation is exactly what I expected it to be. These dedicated deputies were in a situation to make a tough decision and they were able to do so in accordance with their training and experience. I am pleased the investigation shows their decisions made and actions taken were the proper ones for the situation.?”

The sheriff added, “Okanogan County Sheriff’s Detectives are continuing the investigation into the homicide case that prompted the contact with Bowers, by Sgt. Everett and Deputy Holloway, according to the sheriff. Bowers remains in custody at the Okanogan County Jail,” said Sheriff Hawley.