One dead, at least two injured in shooting at Vancouver’s Smith Tower

The shooter was arrested after a standoff lasting just over two hours

VANCOUVER — A heavy police presence swarmed downtown Vancouver on Thursday afternoon following reports of an active shooter inside Smith Tower at 515 Washington Street.

SWAT officers stage near the Smith Tower in downtown Vancouver after a shooting inside on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Mike Schultz
SWAT officers stage near the Smith Tower in downtown Vancouver after a shooting inside on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Mike Schultz

The first calls came in to dispatchers shortly after 2 p.m. First responders reported at least three victims in the lobby of the building. PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center officials confirm two patients were transported there, both in “satisfactory” condition. Numerous sources told Clark County Today one person died at the scene.

An unidentified man appears on a balcony at Smith Tower in downtown Vancouver where a shooting took place with multiple victims Thursday afternoon. Photo by Johnny Driver
An unidentified man appears on a balcony at Smith Tower in downtown Vancouver where a shooting took place with multiple victims Thursday afternoon. Photo credit Johnny Driver

The suspect was arrested after just over two hours. He was identified as an 80-year old resident of the building. Sources indicated the shooting took place in the lobby of the facility. No motive was immediately disclosed.

SWAT officers talk outside the Smith Tower in downtown Vancouver after several people were shot there on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Johnny Driver
SWAT officers talk outside the Smith Tower in downtown Vancouver after multiple people were shot there on Thursday afternoon. Photo credit Johnny Driver

Police closed off several streets south of the Smith Tower during the standoff over concern the suspect could open fire from his apartment.

AMR Ambulances wait outside PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Two people were transported there following a shooting at the Smith Tower in downtown Vancouver on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jacob Granneman
AMR Ambulances wait outside PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Two people were transported there following a shooting at the Smith Tower in downtown Vancouver on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jacob Granneman

City Hall was put in lockdown during the shooting, and people evacuated from the building were taken there for shelter during the standoff.

Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle released a statement Thursday afternoon.

“While we are still learning about what happened surrounding the shooting incident this afternoon in downtown Vancouver, our hearts go out to the victims and their families as they deal with this tragedy,” she wrote. “I commend our police officers, fire and EMS personnel who quickly responded to the scene. I have the utmost confidence in our officers as they work to resolve the situation.”

Vancouver Police and Fire helped evacuate a number of people from the building and C-TRAN provided buses to help move them away from the scene. The agency also tweeted that The Vine and Route 71 were on detour, and Turtle Place station was closed due to the police activity.

A drone searches a floor on the Smith Tower where an alleged shooter was holed up Thursday afternoon. Photo by Mike Schultz
A drone searches a floor on the Smith Tower where an alleged shooter was holed up Thursday afternoon. Photo by Mike Schultz

Smith Tower is a 62-and-over senior living facility with 170 units. It’s owned by Mid-Columbia Manor, Inc. a non-profit corporation run by local labor unions.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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