A man was killed and two women were injured in a shooting Thursday afternoon in the lobby of Smith Tower Apartments in downtown Vancouver.
The suspected shooter, identified by police as Robert E. Breck, 80, a resident of the senior living building, was taken into custody after a standoff with law enforcement that lasted nearly 2 ½ hours.
The victims have not yet been identified. However, the two who were injured were transported to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, where a hospital spokesman said both were in satisfactory condition.
Breck was booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to the Vancouver Police Department. He will make a first appearance on the allegations Friday morning in Clark County Superior Court.
He allegedly fired shots in the building’s lobby shortly after 2 p.m. A 77-year-old man, who’s a resident and asked not to be identified, said he saw Breck enter the building through the side door. The witness entered through the same door a short time later.
A 12th floor resident, who was friends with the man who was killed, said she watched SWAT officers walk past her door through the peep hole.
“They had their guns drawn,” said the resident, who declined to give her name. “They said, ‘Stay in your apartment.’ ” She was later evacuated from the building through the garage. She said she saw her friend lying on the ground.
“I had just been in the lobby with this guy,” she said, adding that he was on his way to sell a motorcycle and was dressed in leathers. “I took his picture. I said, ‘Oh, you’re looking like a stud.’ ”
Trish Gatley, 74, said she was visiting a friend on the 10th floor at the time of the shooting. Unaware of what had happened, she walked downstairs to her ninth-floor apartment to grab her purse before work.
Two officers carrying guns told her to put her hands up, she said. They told her to stay calm and continue down the stairs. When she exited the building, she said she saw a man on the ground, as well as an injured woman being stabilized and put onto a stretcher.
Evacuated residents were kept warm and dry in a C-Tran bus at Sixth and Washington streets. Some residents who sheltered in place looked down from their windows on the crowd gathering below. Law enforcement cordoned off a three-block radius around Smith Tower, with police vehicles bumper to bumper on surrounding streets. Area C-Tran bus routes were detoured during the response.
Police kept the area of Fifth and Sixth streets from Main to Washington streets closed for several hours after taking Breck into custody. Following a final sweep of the building, residents were given clearance to return to their apartments.
“While we are still learning about what happened surrounding the shooting incident this afternoon in downtown Vancouver, our hearts go out to the victims and their families as they deal with this tragedy,” Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said in a written statement. “I commend our police officers, fire and EMS personnel who quickly responded to the scene. I have the utmost confidence in our officers as they work to resolve the situation.”