Judge orders mental exam for alleged clinic gunman

Nobody was hurt in Monday incident

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A Clark County judge ordered a mental health evaluation Friday for a man accused of bringing a rifle into a Salmon Creek medical building earlier this week.

Gregory J. Castro, 39, of Vancouver will not be allowed to answer charges of first-degree assault, firearm theft and unlawful possession of a firearm until mental health professionals from Western State Hospital determine he is competent to stand trial. Competency in the court system means only that a defendant is able to assist in his defense, and doesn’t address all of a defendant’s potential mental health issues.

Superior Court Judge Suzan Clark ordered the competency evaluation at the request of Castro’s attorney, Neil Anderson of Vancouver Defenders.

Court records indicate Castro brought the rifle about 10 a.m. Monday to the Associates for Psychiatric & Mental Health clinic because he wanted to get answers from his mental health provider about whether the FBI had been following him.

The clinic is on the third floor of the University Plaza medical building, 14508 N.E. 20th Ave., but the entire building was evacuated during the gun incident.

After entering the clinic, Castro told office personnel to “clear the building,” according to court records.

He wanted to see psychiatric nurse practitioner Bill Dehen, “intending to scare Dehen into providing answers to him,” according to court records.

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,” court records say.

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

A crisis negotiator persuaded Castro to surrender to a Clark County sheriff’s deputy. No shots were fired, and no injuries were reported.

Castro later told sheriff’s investigators that he felt his mental health has deteriorated recently and he had become paranoid that the FBI was following him, according to court records. He allegedly admitted to stealing the rifle from his father’s bedroom, hiding it in a green duffle bag and taking it into the clinic.

He lives with his father, who was away on vacation Monday, 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.

He remains in the Clark County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.