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News / Clark County News

Judge sentences Vancouver man, guilty of assault and attempted murder, to 25 years in prison

Robert Mitchell fired gun into estranged wife's front door, bedroom window

By Alexis Weisend, Columbian staff reporter
Published: April 22, 2024, 5:40pm

A Vancouver man was sentenced Monday to more than 25 years in prison for shooting through the front door and bedroom window of his estranged wife’s house while she and their children were home.

Last month, a Clark County Superior Court jury found Robert E. Mitchell, 55, guilty of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree attempted burglary, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and two counts of reckless endangerment. The jury acquitted him of four counts of domestic violence court order violation.

At 9:45 p.m. Oct. 20, 2022, a Clark County sheriff’s deputy patrolling the Hazel Dell area heard four gunshots in the 1100 block of Northeast Minnehaha Street and saw a gold sedan speeding east. A woman in the area called 911 a minute later saying her estranged husband, Mitchell, threw something through her window, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Deputies observed bullet strikes on the front door, bullet holes in a window above the front door and shell casings in the street, the affidavit said.

Video footage shows Mitchell outside the woman’s front door just prior to her 911 call. In the video, he yells, kicks the front door and fires four rounds from a handgun into the door and two into the upstairs window — the woman’s bedroom. The woman said in police interviews Mitchell knew that was her bedroom window from having been in the residence previously, according to the affidavit.

She told deputies Mitchell did not live at the residence and that she and Mitchell had a long history of domestic violence incidents, according to the affidavit. Until a year before the shooting, she had a no-contact order against him, she said.

On the day of the shooting, they had argued over splitting up and a parenting plan Mitchell was not in favor of, she said. At 6 p.m., Mitchell showed up drunk at the residence to see the children, she said, according to the affidavit.

Later that day, neighbors said a man in a gold car fired shots at the residence and identified him as “Robert.” Deputies saw the car drive 80 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone and pursued the vehicle. While other vehicles yielded for approaching emergency vehicles, Mitchell drove around them, according to the affidavit.

A detective saw Mitchell throw a gun out the window, which was later found midspan of the Interstate 5 Bridge. Mitchell came to a stop on the Oregon side of the bridge, where he was arrested, according to the affidavit.

In a written statement read aloud to the court Monday, the woman said her daughters cry every night for their father.

“Not one time did you think of them before you acted impulsively that night. And I know this without a doubt because had you at any moment you never would have done what you did. Just know, hopefully, one day, you’ll get the day to explain it to them and hope you have the right words to tell them — to ease their little hearts, not yours or mine,” she wrote.

Mitchell’s attorney, Sean Downs, argued that Mitchell’s actions should be distinguished from other attempted murder cases because Mitchell was not directly shooting at anyone and acted impulsively.

Mitchell told Judge John Fairgrieve he was ashamed and sorry for putting people at risk of harm and that he was not his normal self at the time of the incident. He said he maintains he was not trying to harm his estranged wife or their children.

Fairgrieve issued a no-contact order between Mitchell and his estranged wife and children.