Upon arrival, officers found two people with gunshot wounds, according to the Vancouver Police Department. Police have not released the relationship between the two people or why they were at the physician’s building.
As the investigation unfolded, the nearby hospital was placed on modified lockdown with most entrances closed, according to a press release from PeaceHealth. The physician’s building was also on lockdown and later evacuated.
Vancouver’s Salvador Rodriguez, 50, was inside an exam room for his 1 p.m. eye appointment when an employee entered and said there was a shooter in the building. His wife, Amanda Navarro, 43, was in the waiting room.
“I very scared. I call her,” said Rodriguez, whose second language is English. But she didn’t answer right away, he said. They eventually connected via text and were later reunited.
Navarro, speaking through her husband, said she heard two shots while she was in the waiting room.
Gaye Lynn Cook, 57, of Vancouver was also in the waiting room for an eye appointment when she heard shots fired; however, she said she didn’t recognize the sound until someone else in the waiting room said it was gunshots. Cook said everyone in the waiting room was directed to go down the hall and into exam rooms.
“I was just worried about my dog,” Cook said. She had left her dog, Mino, outside the Vision Center office with the concierge of the building.
Cook waited in the exam room until police came and got everyone. “It seemed like forever,” she said. Police checked over Mino before they left, she said.
Sunny Dhillon, 35, stood outside the physicians’s building Tuesday afternoon, waiting for his wife, who works inside for Quest Diagnostics. He said he had received a text from her stating there was an active shooter in the building.
Dhillon said he told her to get everyone in a room, lock and block the doors, and silence their cellphones. He came down to the scene to try to learn more. He talked with a police officer, he said, who told him there was no longer a threat.
“I told her ‘There’s no threat at this time but to act like there is,’” he said.
“It’s pretty scary,” Dhillon added. When she wasn’t reading his text messages, he said, “a lot of things were going through my mind.”
The crime scene was secured and the lockdown was lifted shortly after 2 p.m.
By about 2:20 p.m. police started escorting some people to their vehicles in a nearby parking lot and letting them leave through the crime scene tape.
The shooting prompted heavy response from the Vancouver Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Vancouver Fire Department and AMR. An armored truck from the sheriff’s office was on scene.
Detectives with the Vancouver Police Department Major Crimes Unit are continuing to investigate.
The building where the shooting occurred is owned and managed by Pacific Medical Buildings Real Estate Services. PeaceHealth Southwest offers numerous services in the building, including the Vision Center, Oncology and Infusion, Maternal Fetal Medicine, PeaceHealth Medical Group Family Medicine and Sleep Disorders Clinic.