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Sheriff identifies Hazel Dell shooting suspect; one victim killed

Two shot Tuesday in domestic violence incident at Sarah J. Anderson school parking lot

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter, and
, Columbian staff reporter
Published: November 27, 2019, 2:06pm
3 Photos
Nathan Howard/The Columbian 
 Bullet holes and a smashed window can be seen on the Toyota Sienna van where the shooting took place Tuesday. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian)
Nathan Howard/The Columbian Bullet holes and a smashed window can be seen on the Toyota Sienna van where the shooting took place Tuesday. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspect of a shooting involving two victims Tuesday at Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School in Hazel Dell as Keland Hill, 38, of Vancouver.

The sheriff’s office confirmed that one of his victims died at the hospital due to gunshot wounds. The other victim suffered injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

The sheriff’s office described the shooting as a tragic escalation of an ongoing domestic violence situation. The victim had written in court documents that she believed Hill would kill her if he wasn’t held accountable for his actions.

“Hill was out of jail on bail pending his court hearing and had an active restraining order involving the deceased victim where he was the respondent,” according to a Wednesday news release.

Hill later shot himself in the head at Padden Parkway and Andresen Road after a brief police chase. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Deputies were called to the parking lot of the school, 2215 N.E. 104th St., about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday and found two victims in the front seats of a minivan, Sgt. Brent Waddell told reporters at a Tuesday night press conference. There were four bullet holes in the windshield and the driver’s side window was smashed.

There were three children inside the vehicle at the time of the shooting, though they were physically unhurt.

Waddell said school had been let out for the day. Most students had left when the shooting occurred, according to a news release from Vancouver Public Schools.

After the shooting, Hill fled the scene in a red Toyota Corolla. When deputies caught up to the Toyota, he led them on a chase, running red lights as he drove up to 75 mph on Northeast 78th Street, Northeast St. Johns Road and other streets. After being slowed by afternoon traffic, he stopped, got out of his car and shot himself in the head.

According to his LinkedIn page, Hill was an assistant program manager of logistics at Insitu, a Boeing drone unit that employs about 1,000 people in the Columbia River Gorge. He had previously worked in Afghanistan for a military contractor and had served in the military.

Court records

Detectives have not publicly confirmed the victims’ names, but court documents show a history of domestic violence acts by Hill against his wife.

She filed a petition for a no-contact order against Hill on Sept. 11. According to documents, she suffered a concussion and whiplash after Hill locked her out of their bedroom, threw her against the wall and pushed her into the garage.

“He had done this countless times,” the woman wrote in her petition. “He’s been arrested before for attempted murder against me in (North Carolina). He got me to drop the charges.”

On Oct. 4, she obtained a restraining order, seeking to bar him from their shared residence and from having any contact with her or their three children.

“If he had a gun and got angry and drunk enough, he would definitely use it against me,” she wrote, adding that she didn’t think he had a firearm.

Court papers show Keland Hill repeatedly violated the restraining order. There was an Oct. 10 incident, less than a week after Hill’s wife filed for the protection order, where Hill approached his wife at a restaurant on Northeast Highway 99.

He again accosted his estranged wife Nov. 7. Sheriff’s deputies poked around her vehicle and found a black box, with a GPS tracker inside, affixed to the fuel tank. Hill was arrested and accused of stalking her.

Clark County Superior Court Judge John Fairgrieve set bail in the stalking case at $75,000 during a first appearance hearing the next day. A week later, Deputy Prosecutor Lauren Boyd filed a motion to increase the bail to $2 million, arguing that additional information and a “danger assessment” filled out by Hill’s wife showed “that the victim is at extreme risk of being killed by the defendant.” The motion also states that Hill had been arrested in Maryland and North Carolina for abusing his wife, but the cases had been dismissed.

Fairgrieve raised Hill’s bail to $250,000 at a Nov. 15 hearing. Court records show that Boyd asked for electronic monitoring of the defendant, but that motion was denied. However, the court ordered “intensive conditions” to be set if Hill posted bail.

Court records show Hill posted bail Nov. 22. On Tuesday, hours before the murder, he was back in the judge’s court for a motion to approve commuting to work using a vehicle. An affidavit indicated that Fairgrieve permitted Hill to travel to White Salmon and Hood River, Ore., for work purposes only.

Sifton home

The family’s home, in the Sifton area outside northeast Vancouver, was relatively quiet late Wednesday morning. A woman who answered the door identified herself as a family friend. She declined to talk to The Columbian but said she might do so at a later date.

Most neighbors who were home said they had seen police cars at the home on several occasions, including Tuesday evening, after the shooting. One neighbor, who didn’t want to provide his name, said the family had moved in last June and that he had a bad feeling about Hill.

“He would just stare me down for some reason,” the neighbor said. “He just had an eerie feeling to him.”

The neighbor said Hill’s wife recently installed security cameras at the house and mentioned Hill’s car, a white Buick parked in front of the home. The car was marked with short strips of red Clark County Sheriff’s Office evidence tape, along with the handwritten “11/7/19” date, so authorities would know if someone opened the doors, hood or trunk.

The vehicle’s license plate includes the United States Marine Corps logo, along with a white sticker saying “disabled vet” on the front plate. The rear plate has a holder with the words “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Other neighbors didn’t want to talk with The Columbian or had few details to offer. None reported hearing frequent or violent altercations at the home.

The family house, built in 2015 on a dead-end street, is adjacent to the north side of Padden Parkway, but there was little road noise due to a high sound wall between the backyard and the busy thoroughfare. The tan two-story structure is  part of a row of modern houses recently added to an older neighborhood.

A red sign on the planter strip outside the home urged people to “Drive like your kids live here.”

A GoFundMe has been set up by the wife’s family to help the children.

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