A man was killed and two women were injured Thursday afternoon in a shooting at Smith Tower Apartments in downtown Vancouver. The shooting prompted a roughly 2½-hour standoff.
The following is a summary of communications between emergency officials from emergency radio traffic monitored at The Columbian.
• Vancouver police officers are dispatched to Smith Tower, 515 Washington St., for a report of a disturbance with a weapon.
• Vancouver Fire Department and medical crews are dispatched amid reports of a shooting with multiple victims. A triage area is set up to receive victims.
• Residents shelter in place on the 13th floor.
• The suspect in the shooting, Robert E. Breck, 80, is confirmed to be alone inside his apartment on the 13th floor. In a phone call with negotiators, he says he is willing to surrender and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else.
• A C-Tran bus stages at Esther Short Park to evacuate residents.
• The tower is cleared up to the 11th floor.
• Two patients are taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.
• An officer requests that power be shut off on the 13th floor and that elevators are stopped.
• A negotiator says they are speaking with Breck about the surrender process.
• Breck hangs up, and a negotiator notes that the man is in the bathroom of the apartment.
• An officer says that anyone still inside their rooms may shelter in place and stay away from openings.
• An officer requests a door charge in case an explosive breach is necessary.
• Breck exits the front door of the apartment, refuses officer commands and re-enters.
• Officers want Breck to crawl out of the apartment on hands and knees. But the man claims he has a sickness “similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease,” making that difficult.
• An officer notes that police have probable cause for murder.
• Officers say that, when he surrenders, Breck should remove his shirt to ensure he is unarmed.
• Breck exits the apartment again, but he didn’t feel comfortable with the exchange and returns. A negotiator notes that Breck is “all about respect,” and officers should go easier on him. But Breck respects law enforcement and wants to surrender.
• Breck admits to shooting subjects on purpose.
• Breck is seen at a window with his hands empty.
• Breck’s daughter keeps calling him, unaware of his involvement, and interrupts negotiations.
• Breck comes out of the apartment again and returns again.
• Police ask someone to contact the daughter.
• A female neighbor next door is sheltered in place.
• Negotiators attempt to distract Breck as they plan to evacuate her.
• Moments later, negotiators and Breck continue working out a surrender plan.
• Breck confirms that he knows one person is dead.
• An officer notes that “he’s pretty calm and coherent,” and he hasn’t shown signs of impairment.
• A U.S. Homeland Security team is on the 13th floor but not connected with local police communications. They are asked to leave.
• An ambulance is requested to stage outside the tower in case “any more patients are produced.”
• Evacuated residents are boarded onto a C-Tran bus. They are checked for injuries as they board.
• Negotiators note they are “working on some anxiety issues” with Breck.
• A door to the apartment suddenly opens. Moments later, Breck is in custody.
• Police enter the apartment to search for additional victims.
• Breck is led down an elevator and taken to a police vehicle.
• Breck’s apartment is cleared. No other victims are found.