UPDATE (Oct. 3, 9:37 p.m. PT) — One person died and at least another two were injured in a shooting at a senior living facility in downtown Vancouver, Washington, Thursday.
After an hours-long standoff, police arrested the suspect, Robert E. Breck, 80, a resident of the building. Breck has been booked into the Clark County Jail on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
The Vancouver Fire Department said two injured people were transported from the apartment building to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. The medical center confirmed those patients were in "satisfactory condition." One of the patients has since been transferred to another facility. Authorities have not released any of the victim’s names.
Kim Kapp, a public information officer with the police department, said the shooting began in the lobby of the apartment building shortly after 2 p.m.
The suspect barricaded himself inside his apartment on the 13th floor for two and a half hours after the shooting before being taken into custody, according to Kapp. Some residents were evacuated, while others sheltered in place as police negotiated with the suspect by telephone. A drone was also used to locate him. By 7 p.m., all residents of Smith Tower had been cleared to return to their apartments.
Austin Studebaker was shopping at Plaid Pantry across the street when he saw swarms of police cars surround the building.
“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said.
Studebaker described seeing police lift a person’s body out of the lobby shortly after law enforcement arrived.
“They had a very clear red spot on their chest,” Studebaker said. “I’m terribly sorry for the victims, their families, anyone affected by this.”
Joan Starr, a resident who lives on the sixth floor with her husband, had just stepped out to pick up his medication. She counts herself as incredibly lucky that she missed seeing the shooter in the lobby by mere minutes.
“It was not my time,” she said.
Police closed the areas around 5th and 6th Streets and Washington Street while the investigation was underway.
Vancouver's City Hall went on lockdown Thursday afternoon and was not accessible to the public.
After Breck was in custody, and the Smith Tower building was being investigated, the city opened a family reunification center at City Hall.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed it has an agent on the scene in Vancouver.
"We've got others on standby if needed," said Jason Chudy, a spokesman for the Seattle Field Division.
Chudy said the bureau's primary objective will be to trace the firearm, or firearms, used in the shooting.
C-TRAN buses were also on-site to transport residents who were evacuated. The county warned, "these buses are not in service and should not be boarded by passengers."
Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle commended the police and first responders for their quick actions at the scene.
“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," McEnerny-Ogle said in a statement. "I have the utmost confidence in our officers as they work to resolve the situation.”