VANCOUVER, Wash. - A man who called 911 to report that he had seen a shooting suspect was mistakenly shot by responding law enforcement officers on October 31, Vancouver police said Tuesday.
The man had told police that he spotted 59-year-old John Kendall in the 700 block of Northeast Blanford Drive. A manhunt was under way at the time for Kendall, who deputies said had shot his neighbor earlier that morning.
Background: Suspect dead, two injured in Vancouver shootings
Investigators then confirmed Kendall's cell phone was in the immediate area according to the Vancouver Police Department.
A SWAT team arriving at the scene spotted a man who matched Kendall's description. They were unaware that the citizen who called 911 was still there.
"Law enforcement personnel watched as the citizen (believed to be Kendall) exited his vehicle and circled behind his trunk," police explained. "Fearing that he armed himself, law enforcement fired multiple shots at the individual in order to stop the perceived threat before the citizen could enter the woods."
The man was shot in the leg. He took cover behind a gravel pile and fired a shot back, then he called 911 again, this time to report that he had been shot.
Officers made contact with the man and provided first aid until he was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Kendall was found nearby a short time later with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was dead before police arrived, but he and his vehicle were obscured from the view of the SWAT team, according to the police statement.
The man shot by police asked not to be identified. Investigators said there was no apparent connection between him and Kendall.
A regional major crimes team was continuing the investigation.
The law enforcement personnel involved were identified as Corporal Chris Leblanc, 47; Officer Brian Frances, 38; and Deputy Anthony Spainhower, 39. They were placed on administrative leave, per routine in this type of investigation.
The other victim, the neighbor hurt in the initial shooting, was hospitalized with critical injuries to her face and said she will likely lose her right eye.
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