By GILLIAN FLACCUS Associated Press
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A man opened fire Thursday in the lobby of an apartment building for senior citizens, killing one and wounding two and then barricaded himself inside his apartment before surrendering, police said.
The injuries of the wounded people were critical and they were taken to a hospital, fire department officials said.
The shooter was believed to be a resident of the 15-story Smith Tower building. Vancouver Police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said he surrendered without incident.
Some parts of the building had been evacuated during the standoff and other residents were told to stay inside their apartments.
Kapp said police did not know what led to the shooting or the identities of the people who were shot. The suspect’s identity wasn’t released.
Kapp said the patrol officers who responded were replaced with SWAT team officers who have more tactical training because of the complexity of the situation. During the negotiations with the suspect, SWAT officers could be seen standing on balconies on several floors.
“This is a situation where it’s a retirement community so we have elderly residents, as well as an elevator situation,” Kapp said. “We don’t know where the suspect is when you have a multi-story building like that.”
Austin Studebaker said he was buying drinks at a convenience store across the street from the building when he saw “the most cop cars I’ve ever seen in my life swarm in.”
Studebaker said officers were carrying rifles and many were wearing body armor. Then Studebaker saw authorities carry a bleeding person out on a stretcher.
“It’s just weird, and I want to know what’s happening,” he said.
Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said in a statement that “our hearts go out to the victims and their families as they deal with this tragedy.”
Vancouver is a city of about 175,000 people just north of Portland, Oregon.