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News / Clark County News

Bail set at $500,000 for suspect in stabbing at Clark College

Victim told police she did not recognize man who stabbed her in the neck

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: May 17, 2024, 5:31pm

A judge set bail at $500,000 for a Vancouver man accused of stabbing a Clark College employee in the neck Tuesday while she sat outside a campus building.

Salvador Aguilar, 31, appeared Friday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree assault and theft of a motor vehicle. He also appeared on a bench warrant for failing to appear in another Superior Court case. In that case, he’s charged with residential burglary and third-degree malicious mischief.

Judge Robert Lewis set bail between the two cases at $510,000. Aguilar is scheduled for a hearing May 29 to enter an order to have his mental health evaluated.

Court records show Aguilar also had a warrant from a Clark County District Court case, in which he was convicted of disorderly conduct. Probation supervisors say Aguilar failed to show proof he underwent an aggression control workshop, which was required as a part of his deferred sentence.

Vancouver police responded at 4:29 p.m. Tuesday to the college at 1933 Fort Vancouver Way for a report of a stabbing. Officers arrived to find the woman, identified as Jami Crawford, had been stabbed in the neck, according to a probable cause affidavit. Clark College previously said she was an employee of the college.

Crawford told officers she was sitting outside Gaiser Hall on campus when a man she didn’t recognize approached her. She said the man, whom police later identified as Aguilar, struck her in the neck, and she initially thought he’d punched her. She then realized she was bleeding and had been stabbed, court records state.

Before the man stabbed her, Crawford said he yelled something about a sexual assault of his daughter, according to the affidavit.

Crawford was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Medical personnel determined her injury was not life-threatening but said the wound was near vital veins, the affidavit states.

Police searched the area around the college for the assailant, but they did not find him. Officers viewed surveillance video that captured the stabbing, according to court records.

Clark College security alerted police to an incident the day prior with a similar-looking suspect. Security officers said a woman contacted them about 7 p.m. Monday and said a man had tried to get into her vehicle while she was sitting in it in one of the parking lots. The woman, identified as Trista Cochran, said the man pulled on her open door and repeatedly made comments about the sexual assault of his daughter. There was security footage of that incident, as well, the affidavit states.

After Vancouver police sent out a news release with photos of the suspect from college surveillance video, the department received several tips, including from employees at a marijuana dispensary who said the man had just left. Police still did not locate him, according to court records.

On Thursday morning, an officer showed photos of the suspect to people near the dispensary. One man recognized him and said he sometimes lets him stay on his property in Vancouver’s Rose Village neighborhood. Officers went there and found Aguilar sleeping inside the cab of a truck, the affidavit states.

Police arrested him and found the clothing he was seen wearing at the college inside the truck, according to court records.

During an interview with police, officers said Aguilar told them Crawford had talked to him, and he was defending himself when he stabbed her. Police noted in the affidavit that wasn’t consistent with the surveillance video.

Investigators said Aguilar also admitted to trying to steal Cochran’s car, and they said he told them he planned to borrow it until it ran out of gas, according to the affidavit.