Police kill 16-year-old suspect in shooting, robberies

Officers waited outside business for teen believed to have shot Hazel Dell man

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith



A Vancouver teen accused in a home-invasion shooting and two armed robberies was killed by police late Friday night in Vancouver’s Arnada neighborhood.

Douglas E. Combs, 16, was shot at about 11:30 p.m. as he reportedly reached for a gun after running away from officers near the intersection of C Street and East 20th Street, according to police radio monitored at The Columbian.

Combs was pronounced dead at the scene.

The officer who fired the shots was from the Vancouver Police Department, spokeswoman Kim Kapp said early Saturday morning. The officer, who was placed on administrative leave per departmental policy, was not identified.

A 16-year-old who was with Combs just before he ran from police was interviewed, arrested and booked into the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center for unlawful possession of a firearm. His name was not released.

Combs was the suspect in a home invasion and shooting at 1 a.m. Friday at an apartment at 1101 N.E. Minnehaha St. in Hazel Dell that sent one man to the hospital. David Toohey told The Columbian the shooting victim was his brother, Bill Toohey. He was reported in the intensive care unit Saturday at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. His condition was not available.

Combs was also implicated in a 5:30 a.m. armed robbery at a 7-Eleven convenience store in the 4500 block of N.E. Saint Johns Boulevard and a 6:30 p.m. armed robbery of a Shell station convenience store at Andresen Road and Fourth Plain Boulevard.

Police searching for Combs had spent hours canvassing the Arnada neighborhood Friday evening after receiving a tip that he was planning to attend a concert and dance at Pop Culture on Main Street, according to radio traffic. He was believed to be armed with two guns.

Combs was spotted inside the crowded business, and SWAT officers staged nearby at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics as he and the second teen spent time in the business, occasionally walking outside with others to smoke. A thin layer of fog blanketed the area.

Officers held their positions waiting for a chance to apprehend Combs without putting others at risk. The stakeout extended beyond Pop Culture’s normal closing time until, at about 11:30 p.m., the two 16-year-olds left the store and began walking east on East 20th Street, according to radio traffic.

Officers converged, and Combs began running east on East 20th Street.

The shooting occurred in a parking lot near the intersection of East 20th Street and C Street. An officer was heard radioing that Combs had been reaching for a gun. He then asked for an ambulance to be dispatched to the scene.

A patron of Paul’s Restaurant on 18th and Broadway, who had stepped out for a smoke, reported hearing four shots, as did a neighbor.

After the shooting, police cordoned off several blocks in Uptown Village and the Arnada neighborhood.

On Saturday, two of Douglas Combs’ brothers, Brian Combs of Seattle and Jason Combs of Vancouver, spoke with KGW-TV and criticized police for using deadly force in the case.

“There are a thousand ways to bring this child in without having to kill him,” Jason Combs told a KGW reporter.

“We just want people to know he was a scared kid who made a terrible mistake, but he didn’t deserve to die,” added Brian Combs.

The officer-involved shooting is being investigated by the Camas Police Department, Kapp said.

Patty Hastings: 360-735-4513; twitter.com/col_cops; patty.hastings@columbian.com.