Dead man's kin: 'We just think it's unfair'

He was shot by homeowner following report of prowler

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

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photoIosif Dumitrash, 19, of Portland died of gunshot wounds early Tuesday.

Still in shock after learning that her 19-year-old brother was shot and killed early Tuesday morning by a Vancouver man, Natalya Lemeza is trying to piece together what led up to his death.

She knows that the last time she saw her brother, Iosif Dumitrash, was Monday afternoon at their Portland home, where the two sat and ate together. Dumitrash was making jokes before he left to run an errand with their father and then to hang out with his friends in Vancouver.

The rest, she said, she has learned from police.

Vancouver police received a call just before 4 a.m. Tuesday of a person prowling at 14802 N.E. 33rd St. Four minutes later, they got another call that the person, Dumitrash, had been shot by Sean Doucette, who lives at the address.

Police say that Dumitrash was shot outside the residence. Court records say there were "numerous empty shell casings" in the street.

Doucette was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and is being held in the Clark County Jail in lieu of a $250,000 bail.

Dumitrash had never been in any trouble, Lemeza said, and her family is upset that he is being portrayed as a criminal in his final moments of life.

Dumitrash has no criminal record in Clark County.

"Maybe it was a misunderstanding or something," she said. "He's not some criminal. He doesn't do that kind of thing. … He's not the kind of person who looks for trouble."

Although he didn't finish high school, Dumitrash was working toward getting his GED with a goal of attending Slavic Bible School in Florida in June, Lemeza said.

"He wanted to dedicate his life to God," she said. He enjoyed working on cars in his spare time and spent time recently traveling to see his relatives around the country.

"He was a great person, and everybody loved him. He had no enemies," she said. "It's just such a big shock that he had to go so soon."

Dumitrash is the youngest of 11 children. Lemeza said that his parents, three brothers, seven sisters and 23 nieces and nephews are all grieving the loss. The large family moved to the United States from Moldova when Iosif was a baby.

"It's really hard for the family; he was a big part of our lives," she said. At first, Lemeza said, "we didn't want to believe it. We prayed and hoped that it was not him."

Now Lemeza said her family is trying to cope with the loss and look forward to getting justice.

"We're in a lot of pain because Iosif was very precious to us," she said. "We just think it's unfair. He did not deserve that. … It's just really sad to see something bad happen to a good person."

Doucette is due to be arraigned Feb. 12.

Emily Gillespie: 360-735-4522; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops<;/a>emily.gillespie@columbian.com.