Neighbors of teen shot by police plead not guilty to charges

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: July 5, 2013, 7:20 PM

 

The neighbors of the teen shot by Vancouver police Jan. 25 pleaded not guilty Friday to charges related to the case.

William J. Toohey, 48, was charged with felony unlawful possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of stolen property. His wife, Cora Toohey, 51, was charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana and second-degree possession of stolen property (An earlier story incorrectly identified her as William Toohey’s girlfriend). Their trial is scheduled for Sept. 30.

When police shot and killed Douglas Combs, 16, they knew the boy had shot and wounded William Toohey, at the Tooheys’ residence in Hazel Dell. Clark County sheriff’s detectives believe the shooting may have been related to the stolen items.

During a search of the Toohey residence Jan. 25-26, detectives recovered a camera, rifle and laptop computer that had been reported stolen during residential burglaries. Detectives also seized marijuana, a digital scale and packaging material.

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

The shooting and two armed robberies that Combs committed Jan. 25 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 there attending a concert 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, at which point officers fired.

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

The Tooheys were arrested June 28 after William Toohey’s prolonged recovery from his gunshot wounds.


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