Violence roils county, has detectives working 24/7
Tuesday shooting, body at park latest in unsettling events
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
An unusual wave of violence continued to wash over Clark County Tuesday, with a shooting reported and a body recovered at Lacamas Park — the second one in less than a week.
Meanwhile, busy police agencies continue to investigate a Monday night homicide, a weekend incident of apparent domestic violence that left a woman clinging to life, and Friday’s officer-involved shooting of a despondent Ridgefield woman who reportedly advanced on deputies while carrying a firearm.
The rash of violence has detectives working around the clock, chasing leads and hunting down evidence, said Vancouver police Sgt. Scott Creager, who heads up the department’s Major Crime Unit.
Creager said he noticed the uptick start around the time of the fatal stabbing of a Vancouver woman whose body was dumped down an embankment on May 26. He couldn’t identify a direct cause of the violence.
“In the past two to three months we’ve investigated several serious crimes, including several homicides,” Creager said. “And the recent spike is at a level we don’t normally see.”
Officer in Ridgefield shooting identified
Vancouver police on Tuesday night identified Officer Ryan Junker as the officer involved in a shooting Friday in Ridgefield.
The condition of the 60-year-old woman who was shot, Mary Lee Andison, was not available, as authorities cited privacy laws.
Junker and several other officers were placed on temporary leave, which is standard practice after a shooting.
“It is not uncommon for officers indirectly involved in such situations to also be placed on temporary leave,” Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Schanaker said in a press release. “This leave provides for the orderly review and assessment of the occurrence itself, as well as the impact on individual officers involved.”
Junker was the only officer to fire a weapon, that press release said. He has been with the Vancouver Police Department since 2005 and was with the Federal Way Police Department from 1996 until 2005.
Other members of the multiagency regional SWAT team placed on temporary leave are: Sgt. Tim Bieber, who has been with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office since 1993; Sgt. K.C. Kasberg, who has been with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office since 1998; Detective Bill Sofianos, who has been with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office since 2003; Detective Pete Muller, who has been with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office since 1991; Deputy Jon Shields, SWAT medic, who has been with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office since 2006, and Reserve Deputy Craig Gault, SWAT medic, who has been with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office since 1997.
This investigation will continue and there will be updates when appropriate, Schanaker said.
After a standoff of almost four hours, the woman was shot when she approached members of the SWAT team and pointed a handgun at them, according to the report.
Police have identified a victim of a Monday night homicide as 57-year-old Deneace L. McSpadden.
Creager of the Vancouver police said detectives were able to tentatively identify McSpadden based on witness interviews. He said an autopsy today will establish McSpadden’s cause of death.
Police are continuing their investigation into the homicide in a run-down duplex at 1006 S.E. Morgan Road, off Middle Way and just north of state Highway 14.
No arrests had been made as of Tuesday night.
Shooting in Sunnyside area
Police spent Tuesday searching for two men believed to have been involved in a shooting at a home in the Sunnyside neighborhood, north of Vancouver, that resulted in one man being transported to an area hospital with a single gunshot wound in the abdomen. No arrests had been reported as of Tuesday night.
A 33-year-old male was transported to Southwest Washington Medical Center shortly after shots were fired at 11 a.m. at a rental house at 10015 N.E. 72nd Circle. The man underwent surgery later Tuesday and was described by a Clark County Sheriff’s Office spokesman as “stable.” The victim’s name was not released.
SWAT officers from the sheriff’s office and Vancouver Police Department descended on the neighborhood to search for two suspects, described as Hispanic men, ages 30-32, wearing dark clothing. The first was 5 feet, 3 inches, 180 pounds; the second was 5 feet, 8 inches, 180-200 pounds.
A day care shares the cul-de-sac with the home where the shooting took place. No children were believed to have been outside at the time of the shooting.
“We had them in lockdown as soon as this happened,” said Schanaker, the sheriff’s spokesman.
SWAT officers spent more than an hour spread throughout the Sunnyside neighborhood with rifles drawn. One stood in the back of an older model orange pickup truck peering over a fence. Another was positioned near Northeast Covington Road.
As of about 1 p.m., SWAT officers had cleared the scene; the suspects remained at large Tuesday night. They may be armed.
Schanaker said the suspects are known to the victim, but he could not provide details on the nature of any relationship. He said investigators have not arrived at a possible motive for the shooting.
It was not known how many shots were fired.
The house was believed at the time of the shooting to have been occupied by the victim, the victim’s wife and the two suspects. Neighbors told police they saw the suspects flee the home on foot.
The house is owned by Prem and Maya Chand, according to Clark County property records. The couple rents the home.
The Clark County Major Crime Unit is investigating the shooting.
Alleged choking victim still alive
A Vancouver woman reportedly choked by her husband Sunday morning was still clinging to life, officials reported Tuesday.
Her husband, Gabriel Lomeli Orozco, 40, made his first appearance Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of second-degree attempted murder. Prosecutors at the hearing said the victim, Maria Lomeli, was being kept alive on life support and could possibly die.
She is not listed as a patient in Southwest Washington Medical Center’s public directory.
Orozco is being held on $500,000 bail for allegedly choking Lomeli, 33, to the point that she lost consciousness following a Saturday night argument.
Orozco will be arraigned Friday.
Body of missing teen discovered near lake
A woman’s body discovered Tuesday on Round Lake in Lacamas Park is that of a Camas teenager reported missing Monday, Camas police said.
The death of Sarah Holven, 19, is under investigation as a possible suicide, according to a press release. Police Chief Mitch Lackey was not immediately available late Tuesday to comment further on the investigation.
Holven’s parents reported her missing late Monday after she didn’t show up at her college classes and didn’t return home. She was last seen at her home at 11 p.m. Sunday, police said.
A pedestrian found some of Holven’s possessions in the park early Tuesday. A boater later spotted her partially submerged body at 11:45 a.m. on the lake’s east end near the Georgia Pacific spillway and notified a Camas police officer who was on foot patrol.
Camas police and a Clark County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol deputy recovered the body at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
They turned the body over to the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office, which identified her.
If investigators confirm Holven took her own life, it would mark the second suicide at the lake in five days.
The body of Carlos E. Slaughter, 22, was found at the lake Thursday. He died of asphyxia and was believed to have committed suicide, police said.
Columbian staff writers Bob Albrecht, Paris Achen, John Branton, Tom Vogt and Stephanie Rice contributed to this report.