A Vancouver man was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison for shooting at a vehicle in January in Battle Ground.
Trevor L. Chase, 30, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to drive-by shooting and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. As part of his plea agreement, one count each of first-degree assault and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm were dismissed.
Judge John Fairgrieve accepted the attorneys’ previously agreed-upon sentencing recommendation of 108 months in prison.
Chase’s attorney, Todd Pascoe, said after the hearing that he and his client had considered a diminished capacity defense but opted not to pursue it in light of the offer and potential exposure at trial. If convicted on the original charges at trial, Chase could have faced 26 1/2 years in prison, at the top of the sentencing range, Pascoe said.
In addition to confinement, Chase will serve 18 months of community custody, undergo mental health treatment, register as a firearm offender and have his driver’s license suspended, Deputy Prosecutor Kristine Foerster said in an email. Chase is also not to have contact with the victim.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, a Battle Ground police officer was dispatched at 10:41 p.m. Jan. 25 to the Mid-Town Terrace Apartments, 405 S.W. First St., for a report of a shooting involving a vehicle. Callers to 911 reported someone in a silver Honda Civic was shooting at people and driving recklessly.
The suspect car was gone when the officer arrived.
The victim, Steven Patterson, told the officer an unknown man, for no apparent reason, passed him on the right side of Northwest First Street. Patterson said he heard a loud pop that upset his dog in the back of his car, the affidavit says.
Patterson said he followed the Honda to get its license plate number and called 911. He said he thought the driver shot at him and did not realize one of his rear windows had been shot out. As Patterson pulled over by Battle Ground City Hall, 109 S.W. First St., the Honda passed him; he heard another pop, according to the affidavit.
Patterson said he “believed the driver was shooting at him again. It wasn’t until he returned home that he discovered two broken windows on his vehicle” — a passenger and driver’s side window, the affidavit says.
Another officer tracked the Honda to a residence in the 200 block of Southeast Fourth Street, where Chase was contacted. He admitted to being in a road rage incident with a red Subaru that had a dog in the back, according to the affidavit.
Chase’s mother consented to a search of the residence, and police found a black revolver wrapped in a towel behind a bathroom cabinet drawer, court records say. Chase was taken into custody.
In a subsequent interview with police, Chase denied owning or shooting the firearm, but he said his fingerprints would be on it, describing it as a “family gun,” the affidavit states. He is barred from possessing any firearms due to a prior felony conviction.
Investigators found the revolver had two spent shell casings in its cylinder, the affidavit states.
Pascoe said the probable cause affidavit didn’t sufficiently cover his client’s mental health issues, which police recognized from the beginning; Chase underwent competency restoration twice over the course of the case.
Pascoe added that Chase and the victim were strangers, but they were at a gas station at the same time. There was a misunderstanding on his client’s part, he said, “born of mental health issues.”
“My client was holding down a job originally and has good family support and has for years. He hopes to do better in the future,” Pascoe said.