UPDATE (Dec. 4, 3:56 p.m. PT) — The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has released more information about the Nov. 26 shooting at the Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School in Hazel Dell, Washington, that left two people dead.
The sheriff’s office said Keland Hill, 38, shot his wife, Tiffany Hill, 35, in the school parking lot after a string of domestic violence offenses in the months prior. Following a short police pursuit, Keland Hill shot and killed himself.
According to a timeline of events released by the sheriff’s office, Keland Hill was a known threat to his wife in the months leading up to the shooting.
On Sept. 11, Tiffany Hill, a former sergeant in the Marine Corps, reported that her husband was screaming at her in front of their children and throwing her belongings out of their bedroom. While she was trying to call 911, she said, he threw her against a wall and then proceeded to chase her downstairs and push her into the garage.
Tiffany Hill reported a concussion and whiplash as a result of the assault.
Keland Hill was arrested for domestic violence assault and interfering with a report of domestic violence. He was released from Clark County Jail the following day and a judge issued a domestic violence restraining order.
It wasn’t the first time Keland Hill had threatened her.
“He has done this countless times,” Tiffany Hill wrote in an affidavit. “He’s been arrested before for attempted murder against me in [North Carolina]. He got me to drop the charges.”
That restraining order prohibited Keland Hill from owning or purchasing firearms. It also required him to surrender any firearms he possessed.
In her Sept. 19 affidavit, Tiffany Hill said Keland Hill didn’t own any firearms but that “if he had a gun and got angry and drunk enough he would definitely use it against me.”
According to the Clark County sheriff, Keland Hill attempted to buy a rifle at a Walmart in Multnomah County on Oct. 6. He failed the background check because of the restraining order.
According to Oregon state law, Oregon State Police must report failed background checks to relevant local law enforcement agencies. The Multnomah County sheriff was notified and the case was forwarded to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
Before his attempted rifle purchase on Oct. 6, Tiffany Hill reported multiple violations of Keland Hill’s restraining order to the Vancouver Police Department and Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
“I fear for my life,” Tiffany Hill wrote in a protection order petition filed Sept. 19. “He’s getting angrier and keeps violating the no-contact order. He knows the only way to get to me is through the children. I fear for my children’s safety.”
After an investigation, additional charges were filed by Clark County’s domestic violence prosecutor for attempting to possess a firearm and violating a domestic violence no contact order.
On Oct. 10, Tiffany Hill reported another violation of the restraining order after her husband showed up at a restaurant where she was eating. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said their deputies responded but were unable to locate Keland Hill, who they believed was living out of his car.
Hill was finally arrested on Nov. 7 after his wife reported seeing him at several locations that day. CCSO deputies found a GPS tracker inside a black box attached with magnets to the gas tank of Tiffany Hill’s vehicle.
Throughout all of this, prosecutors from the Clark County Domestic Violence Prosecution Center were in contact with Tiffany Hill.
Luka Vitasovic, a senior deputy prosecuting attorney with Clark County, said it was “gravely concerning” that Keland Hill had gone to extensive lengths to track Tiffany Hill and obtain a firearm.
The following day Tiffany Hill went to Clark County’s Domestic Violence Prosecution Center to report more violations of the no-contact order. A Vancouver Police Department detective completed a danger assessment to determine how much of a threat Keland Hill posed.
The danger assessment considers factors such as violent jealousy, death threats, threats to use a weapon and drug and alcohol abuse. The scoring goes as high as 41. A score greater or equal to eight is a moderate threat level. Nine to 13 is an increased threat level. Fourteen to 17 is severe and 18-plus is extreme.
Keland Hill scored 31, well into the extreme risk category.
Vitasovic said there are red flags that are correlative to domestic violence homicides.
“He had a significant number of those red flags. So what that tells us is this person’s life is in danger,” Vitasovic said.
In court Nov. 13, domestic violence prosecutors requested raising Keland Hill’s bail from $75,000 to $2 million due to the extreme risk Hill posed. Clark County Superior Court Judge John Fairgrieve set his bail at $250,000, and on Nov. 21 he posted bail before being released from the Clark County Jail.
Vitasovic said the bail was a fairly high amount for someone with minimal history charged with a Class B offense. Rather than blaming the judge for not meeting his office’s admittedly high bail request, he said it reflects how the system views the danger assessments and a reluctance to set such a high bail on someone who hasn’t committed a violent crime.
Five days later, Keland Hill shot Tiffany Hill and her mother while they were parked in the lot at Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School. Hill’s mother was injured. Tiffany Hill’s three children were in the car at the time, but weren’t physically hurt.