Neighbor of teen shot by police now faces charges

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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When police shot and killed a Vancouver 16-year-old on Jan. 25, they knew the boy had shot and wounded his neighbor.

Now, prosecutors believe they know the reason Douglas Combs pulled the trigger. And Combs' victim, William J. Toohey, 48, and Toohey's girlfriend are both facing felony charges related to the case.

Toohey, 48, of Vancouver faces charges of two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of a stolen firearm and second-degree possession of stolen property. He will be arraigned Friday.

His live-in girlfriend, Cora F. Whitebird, 51, faces charges of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and second-degree possession of stolen property.

Combs shot Toohey Jan. 25 at Toohey's residence in Hazel Dell, and detectives believe the shooting may have been related to the stolen items, according to Clark County sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Allais.

On Jan. 25-26 detectives searched the couple's residence and recovered a camera, rifle and laptop computer. They believe the items had been stolen during residential burglaries, Allais said. Detectives also seized marijuana, a digital scale and packaging material.

Detectives also learned that before Toohey was shot, he had accidentally discharged a firearm, propelling the round through a wall and into a neighbor's residence.

"Detectives surmise that the shooting of Toohey by Douglas Combs on the evening of Jan. 25th was not a random act of violence," Allais said. He said the stolen goods may have sparked a dispute between Combs and Toohey, resulting in the shooting.

The shooting and two armed robberies committed by Combs later that day triggered a manhunt that ended at 11:27 p.m. in Vancouver's Uptown Village.

Police shot Combs in the back in a parking lot near the intersection of 20th and C streets. Combs and a friend had just left Pop Culture, an alcohol-free soda store and music venue on Main Street. Police had received a tip that Combs was armed and would be attending a concert at the venue that night.

When Combs saw police, he fled. He reached his left hand into his waistband and pulled out what appeared to be a handgun, according to a report by the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Combs made no effort to throw the weapon down. Instead, he began to move it across his body toward one of the officers, prompting officers to fire.

The Prosecuting Attorney's Office concluded that the officers' use of deadly force was justified.

Toohey and Whitebird were arrested June 28.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts;http://facebook.com/ColTrends;paris.achen@columbian.com.