911 audio of fatal shooting released

Homeowner was on phone with dispatcher when he shot intruder in bedroom

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 

Shooting 9-1-1 Call

Authorities on Monday released audio from an early Saturday 911 call made by a homeowner reporting an intruder at his home in the Roads End neighborhood of east Minnehaha.

At 2:14 a.m., the homeowner, Robert Blakemore, 66, called 911, saying his dog’s barking woke him up to discover an intruder in his home just 20 seconds before he called. Officials later learned the intruder had torn through a cedar fence leading to the backyard of 3719 N.E. 54th Ave. and walked in through an unlocked back door.

Blakemore locked himself and his wife, Janice, 61, in their bedroom with the dog while Blakemore pointed a gun at the door.

“He’s in my house trying to break into my bedroom,” Blakemore told the 911 dispatcher. “He’s trying to kick the door in.”

The Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency dispatcher told Blakemore to tell the intruder police were on the way and he needed to leave. Both Blakemore and his wife told the intruder to leave.

Blakemore shot the intruder six times with a .22-caliber handgun when the intruder entered his bedroom, without the 911 operator even realizing he had just shot the intruder.

Kevin Allais with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said the level of ambient noise made it hard for the dispatcher to understand what was going on at the house. The dispatcher was typing, the dog was barking, Janice was screaming and Blakemore was talking loudly and told the dispatcher he’s hard of hearing.

Investigating officers listened to the audio multiple times before they could figure out when Blakemore shot the intruder.

“He’s on my bedroom floor, bleeding all over,” Blakemore said after he shot the intruder.

Blakemore said the intruder charged at him and his wife, so he shot him. The .22 caliber handgun Blakemore used tends to be quieter than other handguns, such as a .45 caliber or 9 mm, Allais said.

“Normally, you can hear the shots,” Allais said.

The intruder kicked and flailed on the floor before he suddenly stopped.

Blakemore then unloaded the gun and walked out with his wife to the driveway, where officers were arriving.

“It makes nervous to leave that man in there, lying on the floor,” Janice told the dispatcher.

When police arrived, they found the intruder dead on the bedroom floor. He was later identified as Joe Billings, 42, of Kansas City, Mo. Anyone with information regarding Billings and any possible ties he may have to this area is asked to call 1-877-CRIME11 or email ccsomcu@gmail.com.

Police were already looking for Billings minutes before he was shot. A Washington State Patrol trooper involved in a routine traffic stop on Northeast 54th Avenue, just north of state Highway 500, saw a man fitting Billings description “stumbling down the sidewalk mumbling incoherently,” according to a press release.

Officials are notifying his out-of-state family.

After the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Vancouver Police Major Crimes Unit finish their investigation, the case will be forwarded to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office. However, Allais said there will likely be no charges made against the homeowners because it appears to be a basic case of self-defense.

In January, an intruder, Barry Parnel, was shot in La Center when he entered a couple’s property just after midnight. The intruder’s blood alcohol level was 0.33, more than four times the legal driving limit.

Homeowner Leland Larsen told detectives with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office that Parnel ignored his commands to stop and get on the ground, so he fired a warning shot. Parnel walked toward Larsen, putting pressure on the gun and causing it to go off.

Parnel later died at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. In February prosecutors said they wouldn’t charge Larsen with manslaughter because the shooting was accidental.