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News / Clark County News

Getaway driver in east Vancouver drive-by shooting gets 2.5 years

While fleeing police, car crashed into MAX train

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: November 8, 2023, 6:50pm

A Vancouver man was sentenced to 2½ years in prison Wednesday for acting as the getaway driver for two teens in a drive-by shooting at an east Vancouver apartment complex.

Zachary A. Bruce, 27, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to drive-by shooting and possession of a stolen vehicle, along with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm in another case.

Vancouver police responded at 3:04 p.m. June 15 to Alder Creek Apartments, 11716 N.E. 49th St., for reports of a shooting. A caller told dispatchers someone wearing a mask was firing out of a vehicle, which then drove away from the complex, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Officers arrived to find that an apartment occupied by three people was struck by a bullet. Investigators said the same apartment had been struck by gunfire multiple times in the last two months, court records state.

Then, at 5:53 p.m., someone reported to 911 they saw two men with “AK-style” rifles in a car that matched the earlier caller’s description at an apartment complex across the street from the Alder Creek Apartments. This caller also said the men were wearing masks, according to the affidavit.

When officers responded to that call, they confirmed the car was the same one seen on surveillance video in the drive-by shooting. Detectives said they also recognized the driver as Bruce, according to court records.

When police attempted to stop the car, Bruce sped away, and officers pursued. Officers said Bruce continued to drive recklessly, striking another car at an intersection. The car entered Portland, and police there continued the pursuit. As the car approached Portland’s Steel Bridge, officers saw the suspects toss two guns from the car. Investigators later recovered the guns from the sidewalk and bridge walkway, the affidavit states.

Portland police said the suspect vehicle then crashed into a MAX train near Northwest Third Avenue and Glisan Street. Vancouver police said the car was pinned between the MAX train and sidewalk. No one on the MAX train was injured, but the crash caused transit delays in the area.

Officers arrested Bruce and two other occupants, identified in court records as Adyn Cochran, 16, and Zachary Graham, 17, without incident.

In an interview with police, Bruce admitted to driving Cochran and Graham by the apartment. He said Cochran fired the shot that struck the unit. He also said he stole the getaway car near Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard and 121st Avenue, the affidavit states.

Cochran pleaded guilty in Clark County Juvenile Court to attempted drive-by shooting, and he was sentenced to about two years in juvenile detention. Graham pleaded guilty to second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to credit for time served and 16 hours of community service, court records show.