Wednesday, March 29, 2023
March 29, 2023

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Neighbors describe growing tension

Dispute between Mounces, Kendall dates to late 2012

3 Photos
Gunman John Kendall lived at 8606 N.E. 64th St in Vancouver.
Gunman John Kendall lived at 8606 N.E. 64th St in Vancouver. His neighbors had filed a lawsuit against him, alleging that he had as many as five tenants and a home business in violation of subdivision restrictions. Photo Gallery

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John B. Kendall lived next door to Erich and Abigail Mounce, and the neighbors had been in a legal feud for nearly two years, court records show. The primary source of tension was the fact Kendall had as many as five tenants and a home business in violation of subdivision restrictions.

Kendall shot Abigail Mounce on Friday before a scheduled court appearance for failing to follow court orders. She’s listed in critical condition at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Kendall later died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In 2008, Kendall moved into the Meadowcharm subdivision in the Green Meadows neighborhood in unincorporated Clark County, west of Interstate 205 and south of Padden Parkway.

The Mounces moved next door in 2012, according to property records.

One neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, said she wasn’t surprised by Friday’s events because she knew about the feud.

“Every month, cops, cops, cops,” she said.

The woman, a caregiver for one of Kendall’s roommates, said she has known Kendall since they both moved into the housing development six years ago.

The woman said she and her husband used to have a good relationship with Kendall, but it deteriorated after they loaned him $2,200 to help cover his mortgage and attorney fees.

Kendall refused to repay the money, she said, and she began to notice Kendall’s quick temper. Still, she said she remained cordial with Kendall and saw him daily when she cared for his roommate.

She said Kendall and Erich Mounce repeatedly got into loud arguments outside and called the Clark County Sheriff’s Office on each other.

She said she sensed the tension was worsening between the neighbors as Friday’s court date approached.

A few days ago, she noticed a rifle case in the trunk of Kendall’s vehicle, but didn’t think much of the weapon because Kendall was a hunter and it’s hunting season.

As far as the woman could tell, Abigail Mounce wasn’t involved in the dispute between her husband and Kendall.

“I feel so sorry for her,” the neighbor said. “This is not her fault.”

“She’s a very nice person. A quiet, intelligent woman,” she added. “They’re a nice couple.”

John Mounce said his daughter-in-law is a “wonderful lady, a great wife to my son.”

“She’s just a wonderful human being, she has a great sense of humor,” John Mounce said.

Mounce, who was trying to catch a plane from Texas to Vancouver on Friday, said he hadn’t fully processed the news that his daughter-in-law had been shot.

Abigail Mounce was being prepped for surgery Friday late morning; she was shot in the face, according to John Mounce. She was reported in critical condition late Friday afternoon.

Abigail Mounce is a production supervisor at SEH America, he said.

John Mounce said he had exchanged texts with his son.

“He’s pretty shook up right now,” he said.

Neighbors’ reaction

Not everyone on the street knew about the legal dispute.

Matt D. Parker, 32, moved into the home on the other side of Kendall’s six months ago. He has three roommates — arranged through a property management company in accordance with subdivision rules — and said Kendall had been very friendly.

“He was polite,” Parker said. He thought of Kendall’s home as a bachelor house and, with the exception of two small noisy dogs, wasn’t bothered by it.

According to subdivision rules, vehicles are not supposed to be parked in the same spot on the street for more than 24 hours, a source of contention between Kendall and Mounce. But Kendall’s home wasn’t the only place in the neighborhood in violation of that rule, Parker said.

A woman who lives on the other side of Mounce’s residence declined to speak about the shooting, saying she was in shock.

“He was a nice guy,” she said of Kendall.

Andy Bazukin, who moved into the subdivision a month ago, said Kendall was friendly and never mentioned the dispute with the Mounces.

Troy Williams, president of the homeowner’s association, declined to answer questions and simply called the events “sad.”

Katie Drokin, 21, said she met Kendall when she, her parents and her younger siblings moved into the neighborhood in June.

The front yard of their new home was full of dirt, rocks and twigs. Kendall welcomed the family to the neighborhood and offered to do some landscaping work for them. He spent four hours one day rototilling their yard and planting new grass, Drokin said.

“The impression we got of John was he was really nice and serving,” she said.

The family also had several conversations with Kendall about religion. Kendall told them he had a religious background but wasn’t a member of a church. The Christian family encouraged Kendall to rekindle his relationship with God and seek salvation, Drokin said.

The family also met Erich Mounce shortly after they moved into the neighborhood. He offered his assistance if they needed anything and told them about the area, Drokin said.

Drokin said she knew about the tension between Erich Mounce and Kendall, but their problems — and Kendall’s decision to rent rooms in his home — never affected her family.

“It is disappointing to see such a rapid turn of events,” Drokin said.

“It’s a shocker, for sure,” she added. “It doesn’t seem like that’s the same John we know.”

Legal feud

In December 2012, Vancouver attorney Denise Lukins sent a letter to Kendall on behalf of the Mounces.

The letter detailed violations of the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions of the Meadowcharm Subdivision, such as constructing “an unsightly temporary tarp structure” on top of a shared fence, running a vacuum cleaner repair and sale business out of his home, renting rooms and building a shed not “compatible in architectural style and color” with his home.

The CC&Rs were recorded with the county in 2007.

“As such, they encumber your title to your real property, and you are bound by their requirements,” Lukins wrote.

“Mr. Mounce has attempted to discuss these issues with you in a neighborly manner. Your response was to become threatening,” Lukins wrote.

The letter was sent by regular and certified mail; the certified letter came back to Lukins marked “refused” but the letter sent by regular mail was not returned.

In March 2013, the Mounces went forward with a lawsuit against Kendall in Clark County Superior Court to stop violating the CC&Rs and were awarded a preliminary injunction.

In a response filed two months later, Kendall said he had erected the tarp structure to prevent his neighbors from keeping him under surveillance but had taken it down and was no longer conducting his repair business. He said he was working on bringing his shed in compliance and that he had five roommates. He said all of them were under yearlong leases, the minimum time allowed under the CC&Rs.

Each renter was paying him between $525 and $600 a month, according to court documents.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson ruled last year that Kendall’s home business and shed were in violation of the preliminary injunction, and concluded he was operating an illegal commercial rental business by having so many tenants actually staying for periods of less than one year. She said Kendall acknowledged he had a five-bedroom home modified to a six-bedroom home for the purpose of renting out rooms; his building permit was for a five-bedroom home.

Johnson ordered Kendall to pay the Mounce’s legal fees of $5,500 and said sanctions for continuing to operate a rental business would be $2,850 a month, starting in November 2013.

That didn’t end the dispute, as the tenants didn’t leave.

On Sept. 14 of this year, Johnson ruled that Kendall’s tenants had to move out within 30 days or they would be moved out by the sheriff’s office.

On Oct. 16, Kendall filed a handwritten letter to Johnson, saying he had notified his friends he could not operate “a commercial business” out of his home.

“As such, I have decided that my friends can reside with me at no cost,” he wrote to the judge. “I will provide them a home at no charge. I will also pay the utilities. This will bring me into compliance, until I sell my home shortly. Also I have asked them to follow all (homeowner’s association) rules.”

In a motion for contempt filed Oct. 21, Lukins asked that the judge consider putting Kendall in jail for violating court orders until the tenants left.

Johnson was to consider the motion during her 9 a.m. civil docket on Friday.

Lukins, citing client confidentiality laws, said Friday she couldn’t comment.