Vancouver man appears in court in clinic gun incident

He reportedly feared he was being followed by FBI

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A Vancouver man accused of bringing a rifle into a Salmon Creek medical building early Monday apparently wanted to get answers from his mental health provider about whether the FBI had been following him, according to court records.

Gregory J. Castro, 39, appeared Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree assault, theft of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Judge Suzan Clark held him in lieu of $250,000 bail and appointed the Vancouver Defenders law firm to defend him. His arraignment hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Castro walked into the Associates for Psychiatric & Mental Health clinic about 10 a.m. Monday with a rifle and demanded to see psychiatric nurse practitioner Bill Dehen, “intending to scare Dehen into providing answers to him,” a court affidavit by Clark County sheriff’s Detective Kevin Harper said.

The clinic is inside a third-floor suite at the University Plaza medical building, 14508 N.E. 20th Ave.

After entering the clinic, Castro told office personnel to “clear the building,” Harper wrote in the affidavit.

Castro then walked into Dehen’s office, where Dehen was attending another patient. He was holding the rifle in his right hand with the barrel pointing toward the floor, Dehen said in the affidavit.

Concerned that Castro might shoot someone, Dehen asked his patient to leave the office.

“Did you bring that for me?” Dehen asked Castro, according to the affidavit.

Dehen said Castro didn’t answer the question.

“Greg (Castro) said that the FBI had been following him and wanted Bill (Dehen) to answer a question about this,” Harper wrote. “Greg wanted Bill to tell him if Greg had screwed up a major FBI operation.”

Castro eventually surrendered the rifle to Dehen, and Dehen secured it behind a desk in the clinic’s lobby, according to the affidavit.

Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies and the interagency SWAT team had surrounded the building. Sheriff’s officials said they were unsure whether Dehen had remained in the office voluntarily when others evacuated or was trapped in a hostage situation.

Castro remained in the office while a crisis negotiator spoke with him from the hallway. He surrendered to a deputy after about 30 minutes. No shots were fired, and there were no injuries reported.

Castro later told sheriff’s investigators that he felt his mental health had deteriorated recently and he had become paranoid that the FBI “was involved in his life,” Harper wrote. He allegedly admitted to stealing the rifle from his father’s room, hiding it in a green duffle bag and taking it into the clinic.

Castro allegedly stole the rifle from his father’s bedroom earlier that day while his father was on vacation. He lives with his father, according to court records.

Castro was accused of an armed robbery in 2000 in Pullman but was found not guilty by reason of insanity, according to court records. He received psychiatric treatment at Eastern State Hospital, court records say.