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Thursday, November 30, 2023
Nov. 30, 2023

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Four people wounded in stabbing attack at La Center cardroom

Stabbing suspect, a Vancouver man, arrested after high-speed pursuit on I-205, Padden Parkway

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

Four people were wounded in a stabbing late Monday night in what witnesses described as a “random, unprovoked attack” at The Last Frontier Casino in La Center. Authorities say all of the wounded are expected to survive.

A Vancouver man was arrested shortly after the incident following a high-speed police pursuit on southbound Interstate 205 that ended on Northeast Padden Parkway, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

Law enforcement from the sheriff’s office and La Center, Ridgefield and Cowlitz Tribal police departments responded shortly before midnight to a reported stabbing involving multiple people at the New Phoenix and The Last Frontier casinos in La Center, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Chris Skidmore said the stabbing occurred in The Last Frontier Casino building, 105 W. Fourth St.

Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency received several 911 calls from people inside the casino stating at least three people had been stabbed in what was described as a random, unprovoked attack, the sheriff’s office said.

Employees and patrons at the casino tried to confront the stabbing suspect, but he was still armed with what was described as a hunting knife. The suspect, who was described as a bald, heavy-set man in his mid-40s, fled the casino in a white Nissan sedan that was seen heading toward Interstate 5, the news release states.

The stabbing victims were taken by AMR to a hospital for their knife wounds. Three were treated and released Tuesday morning, and one was admitted for further observation, the sheriff’s office said. Their identities were not released.

At about midnight, deputies reported seeing a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle’s description traveling south on I-205. The driver also matched the stabbing suspect’s description, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies began pursuing the vehicle south on I-205 at speeds in excess of 100 mph. The suspect vehicle exited at Padden Parkway and continued east at speeds between 90 and 110 mph. When the vehicle slowed, deputies used a pursuit immobilization technique, or PIT maneuver, to stop the vehicle, according to the news release.

The driver, identified as 41-year-old Scott Robert Harmier, was taken into custody without further incident. He was booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of four counts of first-degree assault. Harmier is scheduled to appear on the allegations Wednesday morning in Clark County Superior Court, the jail roster shows.

Court records show Harmier has a lengthy criminal history dating back to the late-1990s. His convictions include drug possession and domestic violence, including with a deadly weapon.

Surveillance footage from the casino showed Harmier sitting at a poker table when he reached down with his right hand and grabbed something. Then, without warning, he stood and stabbed the man sitting to his left five times in the head and chest area, the sheriff’s office said.

Multiple patrons tried to intervene, and Harmier swung the knife at them. He then approached a woman sitting at the same poker table and tried to stab her three times, before chasing another man outside to the parking lot, swinging the knife at him. That man fell to the ground, and Harmier stabbed him two more times, according to the sheriff’s office. A large amount of blood was found on the ground in the parking lot.

By 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, it appeared to be business as usual at the cardroom; one table was full, and people were playing at several others. A manager declined to speak with a Columbian reporter and referred questions to the sheriff’s office.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the casino said its human resources department is researching counseling options for staff members and guests who were impacted by the incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are extended to all affected,” the statement reads.

The sheriff’s office Major Crimes Unit investigated with help from the Vancouver Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit.

Reporter Becca Robbins contributed to this story.

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