FORKS — An autopsy was conducted Monday on the body of Edward Lowell Hills, a 59-year-old man who was shot and killed Friday during a confrontation north of Forks with a Clallam County Sheriff’s sergeant and a Forks police officer.
The State Patrol was able to make Hills’ identity public Monday after contacting a relative, State Patrol spokesman Trooper Russ Winger said.
Clallam County Coroner-Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols said Monday the autopsy was expected to be completed Monday.
“It will take at least a few weeks to get the results back,” he said.
Hills was killed by law-enforcement gunfire late Friday afternoon at the doorway of his RV at Lake Pleasant Mobile Home and RV Park five miles north of Forks, said Brian King, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office chief criminal deputy.
West End Sheriff’s Sgt. Edwin Anderson and Forks Officer Michael Gentry remain on indefinite administrative leave during a review of the incident, conducted by the State Patrol’s officer-involved-shooting team, King said.
Winger said he did not know if both officers fired their weapons or how many shots were fired.
“The autopsy and bullet strikes and subsequent ballistics [examination] will confirm that information later,” Winger said.
Anderson and Gentry responded to two reports late Friday afternoon from residents of the mobile home-RV park about the man’s erratic behavior, King said.
It included Hills yelling and gesturing with his hands, and repeatedly screaming Thursday night, King said.
He said authorities received reports from the mobile home and RV park about Hills’ behavior at 3:39 p.m. and 4:18 p.m. Friday.
“We can characterize his behavior the whole time starting certainly with the observations by the reporting party until the deputy arrival that he was behaving erratically, and that’s as far as we’ll talk about his behavior,” King said.
Anderson and Gentry arrived at 4:56 p.m. Friday, King said.
King said that two minutes later, at 4:58 p.m., it was reported that shots were fired.
The officers were a few feet away when Hills was shot, King said.
“A majority of the contact occurred in the doorway to his trailer,” King said.
“We’re talking close proximity to the trailer, a very small area.”
During the confrontation, at least one of the officers fired a Taser, after which Hills produced a handgun from inside the RV, King said.
Sheriff Bill Benedict said in an earlier interview that Hills did not fire his gun.
Hills’ body was inside the trailer, King said.
It is believed that Hills lived at the park for fewer than two years, but authorities don’t know where he lived before that or exactly how long he lived there.
King said more information about Hills will come to light as the investigation progresses.
“We just don’t know a lot about him,” King said. “We are canvassing everyone in the neighborhood.
“Certainly, the investigators are going to try to get as much information like that as they can.”
Sheriff Bill Benedict said Sheriff’s Department deputies will work overtime to cover Anderson’s West End patrol and law enforcement duties while he is on leave.
“I don’t expect that Sgt. Anderson will be out very long,” Benedict said.
Forks Police Chief Rick Bart did not return a call for comment Monday.
Tacoma pathologist Dr. Eric Kiesel conducted the autopsy on Hills at Harper Ridgeview Funeral Chapel in Port Angeles, Nichols said.
Nichols said Kiesel will determine the number of wounds and the bullet trajectories.
“The farther away the shots were fired, the more complicated it becomes to determine exactly how far away [the officers] were standing,” Nichols added.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.