Prosecutors: Fircrest shooting might be gang related

Vancouver man faces charges tied to dispute at house party




A man is accused of firing a gun multiple times toward a Vancouver house when asked to leave a party, and Clark County prosecutors say the shooting may be gang related.

Maurice M. Eppenger-Jones, 18, of Vancouver appeared Thursday in Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree assault, unlawful possession of a firearm by an ex-con, possession of a stolen firearm and altering marks on a pistol.

Judge Suzan Clark held him in lieu of $200,000 bail and appointed Vancouver attorney Steven Rucker to defend him. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Aug. 28.

According to a court affidavit, Eppenger-Jones attended a party on July 27 at a residence in the 12100 block of Northeast Second Street in the Fircrest neighborhood. During the party, he became involved in an argument with a woman at the party, who called him a derogatory name, according to the court affidavit. Eppenger-Jones, in turn, called the woman a derogatory name, prompting the party’s host to ask Eppenger-Jones to leave the party, court records say.

Eppenger-Jones “was walking away when he turned around, shouted, “It’s six, O (for zero),” and began firing a gun in the air toward the house,” Vancouver police Detective McAvoy Shipp wrote in the court affidavit.

Shipp said that phrase is a reference to the Rolling ’60s Crip street gang.

The party host heard at least six shots, court records say. He and other partygoers attempted to seek cover. After shooting the gun, Eppenger-Jones ran from the house and was pursued by a group of 15 to 20 people, Shipp wrote. One witness wrestled the gun from Eppenger-Jones’ grasp, the detective wrote.

Investigators found nine spent .22-caliber shell casings in the street near the residence and examined the gun taken by the witness. The gun is a stolen .22-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun with scratches over the serial number, according to court records. Investigators also found two bullet holes in the garage door of the residence.

Eppenger-Jones was convicted of first-degree robbery in 2011 and second-degree robbery in 2010, said Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Ward.