Suspected police officer shooter attempts suicide in jail

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: July 17, 2014, 8:21 PM

 

A Vancouver man accused of shooting a Vancouver motorcycle patrol officer during a routine traffic stop attempted to commit suicide inside his jail cell Thursday.

James T. Sapp, 48, has been in Clark County Jail in lieu of $5 million bail since his arrest June 30 on suspicion of attempted murder and other charges in connection to the shooting of Officer Dustin Goudschaal.

Jail personnel found Sapp at about 1:30 p.m. in the act of attempted suicide inside his jail cell and intervened, according to a press release. Jail Chief Ric Bishop wouldn’t disclose how Sapp attempted to kill himself, as the incident remains under investigation by a regional crime team.

However, dispatch logs from the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency show a cardiac or respiratory arrest death by hanging was reported at 1:40 p.m. Thursday at the jail, 707 W. 13th St. A subsequent report at 1:44 p.m. stated that there was a suicidal subject “in progress” at the jail.

On-duty jail medical staff responded immediately and provided emergency medical care until relieved by Vancouver Fire Department and AMR, according to the press release. Sapp was transported to an area hospital via AMR ambulance. The hospital was not named, and Sapp’s condition was not made available.

Sapp, a purported white supremacist, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the charges against him. His trial is scheduled for Dec. 8.

Sapp is accused of shooting Goudschaal seven times as the officer approached a black Dodge Ram truck Sapp was driving at about 11:30 a.m. June 30 for a routine traffic stop near Northeast 34th Street and 162nd Avenue in east Vancouver.

Goudschaal was struck in the head twice, once in his ballistic vest and in his arm, shoulder and leg, according to Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik.

A dispatcher told the officer that the truck’s license plates belonged to a stolen vehicle. After Goudschaal didn’t respond to the dispatcher, passing motorist James Bridger Jr. came on the radio and said the officer had been shot.

Goudschaal’s ballistic vest apparently saved his life, and he was able to identify Sapp as his assailant, court records say.

As Sapp fled from law enforcement, he assaulted multiple people, stole a vehicle from an elderly man and attempted to steal a vehicle from a woman whom he punched twice in the head, Golik said. Sapp also was wanted on a warrant at the time for allegedly failing to appear for a drug case from March.

Sapp is charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, first-degree attempted robbery, second-degree assault, methamphetamine possession and heroin possession.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has previously identified Sapp as an admitted member of the Aryan Brotherhood. He goes by the nickname “Cotton,” according to court records. He has a violent criminal history and several felony convictions, the oldest of which dates back to 1988 in Oldham County, Ky., according to court records.

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