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News / Clark County News

Prosecutor: Anger over loud exhaust prompted Vancouver shooting

Defendant's attorney says he acted in self-defense

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: March 7, 2023, 5:58pm
2 Photos
Jacob Cantrell, right, looks at a police photo of his east Vancouver driveway during his attempted murder and assault trial Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court. Cantrell's attorney said he shot another man in his driveway after the man smashed Cantrell's car's windows with a shovel.
Jacob Cantrell, right, looks at a police photo of his east Vancouver driveway during his attempted murder and assault trial Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court. Cantrell's attorney said he shot another man in his driveway after the man smashed Cantrell's car's windows with a shovel. (Becca Robbins/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A prosecutor told jurors Tuesday in a Vancouver man’s attempted murder trial that a truck’s loud exhaust was the catalyst for the June 2022 shooting in east Vancouver. The defendant’s attorney said the shooting was self-defense.

Jacob Cantrell, 33, is facing charges of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault in Clark County Superior Court.

Jury selection started Monday and continued Tuesday, followed by the attorneys’ opening statements. The trial is expected to last four days.

Cantrell called 911 at about 1:50 a.m. June 21, 2022, to report that he shot a man, later identified as Randall J. Morrison. He said Morrison was trying to break into his car at Cantrell’s house, 203 S.E. 148th Ave. The dispatcher could hear a man screaming in the background, according to a probable cause affidavit.

During her opening statement, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Smith said Cantrell became enraged over the loud exhaust on Morrison’s truck. Cantrell approached the truck and broke Morrison’s windows, likely with a rock investigators found in the street nearby. Then, Morrison pulled his truck into Cantrell’s driveway, grabbed a shovel and began breaking the windows of Cantrell’s car.

That’s when Cantrell went inside to grab his gun, Smith said. Cantrell was able to get the shovel away from Morrison, she said, and Morrison turned to leave. Then, Cantrell shot Morrison multiple times, including in the torso, Smith said.

“The defendant, Jacob Cantrell, initiated the altercation when he broke Mr. Morrison’s windows out in his car as he drove past his residence. He escalated the altercation when he went into his home and retrieved his firearm, and he ended the altercation when he shot Mr. Morrison multiple times at close range,” Smith said. “This is not a case of self-defense. The defendant, Jacob Cantrell, did not shoot Mr. Morrison because he was fearful; he shot him out of rage.”

Defense attorney Josephine Townsend said Cantrell did not use a rock to break the window of Morrison’s truck. She said investigators never determined who or what damaged Morrison’s window; they never investigated the possibility kids who lived at a neighboring apartment complex could’ve done it.

Instead, she said Morrison was intoxicated and angry over the damage to his truck. He pulled into Cantrell’s driveway, grabbed a shovel and began damaging the cars closest to where his truck was damaged, the defense attorney argued.

Cantrell was inside his house, Townsend said, when he heard loud bangs outside. He grabbed his gun and went outside to check.

“At that point is when Mr. Cantrell came outside with his weapon and came around the corner to find a stranger he’s never met wielding a shovel and coming toward him,” Townsend said. “He raises his gun, and he shoots him in the front.”

Morrison was rushed to a hospital, where he stayed for several days. Smith said Morrison was in a coma for some time.

The prosecution began calling its first witnesses later Tuesday afternoon, including several responding Vancouver police officers. The trial continues today.

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