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Dec. 9, 2022

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Ridgefield man held on $1M bail, accused of kidnapping, attempted murder

Man's girlfriend sought help at store; he allegedly dragged her out, threatened to kill infant daughter

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Ridgefield man is being held on $1 million bail after allegedly kidnapping his girlfriend as she sought help at a Vancouver convenience store, assaulting her and attempting to kill their infant daughter.

Aarondeep Johal, 32, was reportedly out on bail in a pending domestic violence case, with a no-contact order with the same named victim, when these latest allegations occurred Sunday.

He appeared Monday morning in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of attempted domestic violence murder; two counts of first-degree kidnapping, one domestic violence-related; residential burglary, domestic violence-related; two counts of third-degree assault; fourth-degree assault, domestic violence-related; third-degree malicious mischief, and resisting arrest.

Judge John Fairgrieve found probable cause for all of the allegations; however, he found probable cause for second-degree attempted murder, rather than first degree.

Deputy Prosecutor Gabriel Foster told the judge that a threat assessment found a score of 25, meaning the victim is at “extreme risk of being killed by the defendant.”

In response, Johal said, “I’ve never touched (the alleged victim) in my life.”

Foster said Johal has pending charges of domestic violence second-degree and fourth-degree assault, and now has a no-contact order violation, as well as a pending 2020 case for driving under the influence.

Johal’s bail in the original domestic violence case was $25,000. Fairgrieve granted the prosecution’s request to increase bail in that case to $250,000 and set bail at $750,000 in the latest case.

Johal is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 22.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, a woman called 911 to report that her 25-year-old daughter was in danger from her boyfriend, identified as Johal, at the 7-Eleven at 5101 N.E. 112th Ave., in Vancouver.

Vancouver police arrived and spoke with the clerk who said that a woman had entered the store and asked to use the phone around 3 a.m. While on the phone, the woman was looking out the doors and became panicked. She started to back up when a man entered the store, the affidavit says.

The man started chasing the woman through the store, the clerk said, and at one point, took the phone from her and smashed it on the wall. He grabbed the woman and dragged her out of the store, shoving her to the ground outside, the clerk said. The man then pushed the woman into the back seat of a dark-colored car and sped off, court records state.

The clerk said the woman was screaming “no” and “leave me alone” during the incident, the affidavit says.

Police reviewed the store’s video surveillance and identified the man as Johal and the woman as his girlfriend, according to the affidavit.

Court records say there was a previous call for service around 2:50 a.m. at the nearby Washington State Patrol headquarters, 11018 N.E. 51st Circle, in which the woman asked for a ride.

The mother said her daughter’s cellphone is linked to Johal’s phone. She said she received short text messages from her daughter stating that she was fine and didn’t need help. The mother said she believed the messages were sent under duress or by Johal, according to the affidavit.

Police contacted a relative and learned she had been watching the couple’s children. At about 2:45 a.m. Johal picked up their youngest child, who is just under 2 months old. He smelled of alcohol, she said, and the child’s mother was with him, court records state.

The couple and their baby were later found at the victim’s apartment in east Vancouver. Police said they could hear a loud argument between the two inside. The woman also texted her mother and said she was bleeding, the affidavit says.

The woman exited the apartment and was bleeding from a laceration on the back of her head, police said. Officers entered the apartment and found Johal holding the baby. He picked up a hammer and raised it above the child’s head, threatening to kill her, according to court records.

He eventually put down the hammer but then threatened to throw the child off the balcony. Officers blocked the sliding door to the balcony. Johal then placed the child between his chest and the wall and pressed his body against her, the affidavit states.

A crisis entry hostage team responded. Court records indicate Johal has made threats in the past to have police shoot him.

Police used a stun gun on Johal, but it was ineffective, and he continued to squeeze the baby, police said. Multiple officers grabbed Johal’s arms, and one officer punched Johal in the face to get him to release the child, who went limp, according to the Vancouver Police Department.

Officers pried the baby from Johal’s hands, and she and her mother were taken to area hospitals for evaluation. The baby remained hospitalized Monday afternoon, the police department said in a news release.

During his arrest, Johal reportedly spit on an officer, the affidavit states. Johal was also taken to a hospital for complaints of injury and pain, court records indicate.