Wash. cops mistakenly shoot 911 caller during manhunt

Man who called 911 to report a suspicious car on Halloween was fired upon several times by officers who mistook him for an armed suspect

By Everton Bailey Jr.
The Oregonian

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A Vancouver man who called 911 to report a suspicious car on Halloween was fired upon several times — and hit by one round in the leg — by law enforcement officers who mistook him for an armed suspect, the Vancouver Police Department said Tuesday.

The man, only identified by police as in his mid-50s, took cover behind a gravel pile after he was shot at by two Vancouver police officers and a Clark County deputy, and he also fired one round -- hitting no one, said Kim Kapp, a Vancouver police spokeswoman. The man was given first aid when it was determined he was not a threat, taken to a hospital for treatment and released by Nov. 1.

The man requested his identity not be released by police and the Vancouver agency plans to "honor his request for as long as we can," Kapp said.

She said she did not know why the man requested police not release his identity.

The cops who fired at the man — Vancouver Police Corporal Chris LeBlanc, 47; Vancouver Police Officer Brian Frances, 38; and Clark County Deputy Anthony Spainhower, 39 — were still on paid administrative leave as of Tuesday, according to both agencies. Detectives are still determining how many shots were fired by law enforcement and whose bullet hit the man, Kapp said.

Police mistook the man for 59-year-old John Kendall, who shot his next-door neighbor, 33-year-old Abigail Mounce, in the face with a rifle, then drove about four miles away, parked his car and fled into the woods near the 700 block of Northeast Blandford Drive, Kapp said. There, Kendall, who had shot Mounce over a neighborhood dispute, fatally shot himself.

Abigail Mounce is expected to survive her injuries.

The man who was mistakenly shot happened upon Kendall's car before law enforcement arrived to the area, called 911 to report the vehicle, then and remained at the scene, Kapp said. Authorities tracked Kendall to the same area by tracing his cell phone and assumed the 911 caller was the armed suspect because he matched Kendall's physical description, according to Kapp.

The Vancouver officers and Clark County deputy fired at the man because they feared he had armed himself when he circled behind his own vehicle and began heading toward the woods, Kapp said. The man made a second 911 call after he was wounded to report he had been shot, according to Kapp.

Kendall and his car were hidden from view from the police officers and deputy when the shooting occurred, Kapp said. Authorities believe Kendall and the wounded man did not know each other, according to Kapp.

Investigations into the shooting that injured Mounce and the officer-involved shooting are still continuing and could be completed around Thanksgiving, Kapp said.

Copyright 2014 The Oregonian

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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