Patty Dorris was about to take her granddaughter outside to enjoy the sun Monday when the sound of screeching tires brought her to a halt.
“I held my granddaughter, and I closed my eyes, because I knew it was right there,” Dorris said. “And I thought, ‘Oh God, don’t let it come into our house.’ “
Then came the crash, a near miss just a few yards away from Dorris’ home on Northeast 148th Avenue. Two men suspected of shooting a Vancouver police officer at a traffic stop had just slammed into a tree.
Dorris ran outside and saw a man stumble out of a black truck, walk into her neighbor’s driveway and fall flat on his face, get up and run through Diamond Park.
Though Dorris didn’t know exactly what she was witnessing, she would play a crucial role in the police investigation. Several surveillance cameras positioned around her house caught glimpses of the crash and the two fleeing suspects.
Police contacted Dorris as they canvassed the streets for witnesses, and immediately reviewed her surveillance footage, she said.
A number of residents throughout the neighborhood and at Diamond Park also saw some part of the shooting’s aftermath, the crash nearby or the search that ensued as police blocked off streets and scoured the area for the suspects.
Debra Reeves and her husband, Bryce, had just pulled out of their driveway and were about to head north up 148th Avenue when they heard the commotion.
“We were just backing up in the car out of the driveway to go to the gym and heard a big crash,” Reeves said. “Ten seconds (later), and he would’ve plowed right into us as we would’ve been turning that corner.”
Cory Neuman said he was listening to the police scanner recreationally in his home a block from the shooting when he heard the drama unfold. He said it took him a few minutes to put it together that the hectic scene was so near. Then he went outside and saw the wounded officer in the middle of the road.
“I was thinking, ‘This is too crazy. This is Monday morning,’ ” he said. “This is a nice little neighborhood.”
Shortly afterward on Northeast 141st Avenue, said Kasy McCabe, 17, she was walking her dog and heard people yelling: “Get him! Get that man!” “Call 911!”
A man who had pulled up in a gold vehicle ran past her near Northeast 28th Street. He was screaming for someone named Jimmy, she said. McCabe said she called 911 as others chased the man down the street.
“That was the scariest thing of my life,” she said.
Columbian staff writers Patty Hastings and Emily Gillespie contributed to this story.