Man killed in La Center not prone to prowl, friends say

Homeowner fatally shot 29-year-old in chest, abdomen early Tuesday

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance

Published:

 

Officials on Wednesday declined to offer more information on the circumstances of the fatal shooting of a man suspected of prowling outside a La Center home early Tuesday.

Barry Parnel, 29, of Vancouver was outside Leland Larsen’s home at 33506 N.W. 11th Court around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Larsen shot Parnel, who later died in the hospital, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies found Parnel in the driveway of the home with a gunshot wound to the torso. The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office did an autopsy Tuesday and listed Parnel’s cause of death as a “shotgun wound to the chest and abdomen.”

Friends and family on Facebook posts wrote that Parnel wasn’t the type of person who would be prowling a home.

David Van Horn of Vancouver said he was friends with Parnel for two or three years. The two worked together at a car wash for five or six years, he said.

Van Horn said Parnel was “afraid of his own shadow,” and it concerned him when he first heard Parnel was a suspected prowler “because it’s not him,” Van Horn said.

Parnel was afraid of confrontation, he said. There were a few situations where customers would have problems and he would back off and let someone else take care of it, Van Horn said.

Paul Cawood of Vancouver said he knew Parnel for about 8 years. He heard from a few mutual contacts that Parnel was taken to La Center by a man known as “Johnny Pockets.” He’s not sure what happened after that.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Cawood said when he got the news. “Everybody (who knows him) is in shock.”

Cawood described Parnel as about 5 feet 7 inches tall and skinny, a man who was never known to threaten or harm anyone, and never known to carry a gun.

Even though Parnel had little money, Cawood said, he would buy bouquets for the waitresses at an area bar and grill.

“I can’t tell you now many people loved Barry,” Cawood said.

Cawood said he suspects that Parnel, who didn’t drive and had no car, was on foot and lost, trying to find his way home, or a barn to sleep in, before he was shot.

As soon as detectives finish the investigation, the case will be sent to the prosecutor’s office for review, which is standard procedure with a homicide involving a firearm, said Sgt. Fred Neiman, a Clark County sheriff’s spokesman.

Staff writer John Branton contributed to this report.