Two arrested in Hazel Dell homicide

Suspects to appear in court on Monday

By Craig Brown, Columbian Metro Editor



Two men have been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the Oct. 1 shooting of Matthew M. Clark at a northeast Hazel Dell home.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies identified the suspects as Kirk Michael Hernandez, 42, a transient, and Darrel Christopher Fry, 33, of Vancouver.

Both are being held at the Clark County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and on arrest warrants unrelated to Clark’s death.

They are expected to make first appearances Monday morning in Clark County Superior Court, at which time bail could be set and attorneys appointed.

Deputies on Saturday didn’t give a motive for the shooting or release other information, except to say that the men were booked into the jail late Friday night and that all the suspects in the homicide are in custody. On the day of the shooting, they said they believed the victim probably knew his assailants.

Clark died about 6:30 a.m. on a Monday morning. Neighbors reported hearing gunfire at the home and called 911. The first deputies on the scene found Clark, who was inside the home, already dead. One neighbor told The Columbian on Oct. 1 that after she heard the shots, she observed a car backing out of the driveway at the home and leaving the scene.

When deputies arrived, no one else was at the dilapidated home, where neighbors said people are constantly coming and going, and police are regularly seen.

Clark’s is the fifth murder case in Clark County this year. The others, all of which have resulted in arrests, are:

o On Feb. 29, Joshua Schenk, 25, was shot in a field in the Vancouver Lake Lowlands. Prosecutors allege robbery was a motive; defendant Mathew E. Starr claims the death resulted after he “put him down” like a wounded animal after a target-shooting accident.

o On March 3, Eric Walswick, 26, was shot in a parking lot at the Village at Cascade Park Apartments following a dispute over loud music. Christopher D. Paul has been charged with second-degree felony murder.

o Sometime between April 12 and May 4, Jose Luis Chavira-Cruz, 37, was stabbed to death at the Evergreen Pointe Apartments. Detectives say robbery was the motive. An Oregon man, Miguel Gonzalez-Munoz, was arrested.

o On May 14, Mark Williams, 55, was clubbed to death with a hammer. His wife, Donna Williams, who said she had been abused during their long marriage, called police a few days later to report the death and confess.

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