White supremacist charged in Vancouver cop shooting

Sapp linked to white supremacists, admitted trading heroin before shooting

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN 6) — An unemployed, nearly 48-year-old man with ties to white supremacists was arraigned for trying to kill a Vancouver police officer during a traffic stop Monday.

James Todd Sapp, booked on charges of attempted murder, robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm, was arraigned at 9 a.m.

James Sapp entering courtroom July 1, 2014 a day after his alleged role in the shooting of a Vancouver cop. (KOIN 6)
James Sapp entering courtroom July 1, 2014, a day after his alleged role in the shooting of a Vancouver cop. (KOIN 6)

Officers from the Vancouver Police Department and detectives with the Clark County Major Crimes Team were both in attendance in support of Officer Dustin Goudschaal.

Sapp, who entered Tuesday with six prior felony convictions, walked into court in a one-piece anti-suicide smock. Sapp, who will turn 48 on July 6, is also reportedly being held in separate quarters than other inmates.

A court-appointed attorney was given to Sapp, whose bail was set at $10 million.

Sapp is next due in court July 8.

Court documents

Court documents reveal officer Goudschaal was hit seven times by a semi-automatic handgun.

Sapp was allegedly driving a black Dodge truck, with plates stolen from a Jeep Cherokee, when he was pulled over by Goudschaal.

That black Dodge truck is registered to the wife of James Sapp, authorities said.

James Sapp, arrested for allegedly shooting a Vancouver police officer seven times, awaits arraignment July 1, 2014. (KOIN 6)
James Sapp, arrested for allegedly shooting a Vancouver police officer seven times, awaits arraignment July 1, 2014. (KOIN 6)

After the shooting, the Dodge crashed into a tree about four blocks away, and the passenger in the truck, Timothy Plantenberg, ran away. He was caught about two hours later.

Authorities say Plantenberg admitted being in the truck when the shooting happened.

Sapp has been affiliated with white supremacist groups and has tattoos of a swastika and “White Pride” across his lower back, court documents said.

Officer’s story

On his way to the hospital, Goudschaal provided a summary of what happened to another Vancouver police officer.

Goudschaal said he pulled over the black truck and was approaching the driver’s door when the driver leaned out the window and shot him. Goudschaal said there were only two people in the truck, which had a 55-gallon drum in its bed.

He described the shooter as a man who looked like James Sapp, authorities said.

A witness to the shooting, who was headed eastbound on NE 34th, saw the truck’s driver lean out and shoot the officer. The witness said Goudschaal fired back as the truck sped off.

Goudschaal then asked the witness for help, she told investigators.

James Todd Sapp, accused of shooting Vancouver Officer Dustin Goudschall during a traffic stop, made his first court appearance on July 1, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
James Todd Sapp, accused of shooting Vancouver officer Dustin Goudschaal during a traffic stop, told detectives a man named “Dan” fired the shots. (KOIN 6 News)

Passenger

Timothy Plantenberg said he was riding in the truck with Sapp — also known as “Cotton” — when officer Goudschaal stopped them. He told investigators “Cotton” pulled a gun from between his legs as the officer approached, and then shot him.

As they sped off, Plantenberg said he grabbed the wheel to make it crash so he could get out. Sapp fired at Plantenberg once they were outside the truck, he told investigators.

Plantenberg said he then ran to a woman’s house and called his mother. He was waiting for his mother to come when the police got in touch with him.

Another stolen truck

Sapp allegedly stole a Chevy S-10 pickup from an 88-year-old man after the Dodge truck crashed into the tree. Sapp allegedly assaulted that man and two others who tried to stop Sapp from stealing the truck.

Kim Kapp of the Vancouver, Wash. Police Department said police are looking for the public’s help in identifying the victim in an attempted car jacking June 30 in the 14500 block of NE 31st St., near Diamond Park. Police are calling on anyone with information on that carjacking, or who saw or spoke to Todd Sapp June 30 and  has not spoken to police yet, to call the Clack County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information on the above-mentioned carjacking or that had contact with suspect James Todd Sapp, and who have not already spoken with police, is encouraged to call the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

Heroin

After he was taken into custody, Sapp allegedly told detectives he traded some tools for some heroin earlier in the day from a man named “Dan” and put different license plates on the Dodge truck to keep it from being traced.

They went to three different gas stations and used a credit card to buy gas they planned to resell later.

As they went to another gas station, officer Goudschaal pulled them over. Sapp said “Dan” told him not to stop because he had outstanding warrants. Sapp said “Dan” pulled out a gun and shot Goudschaal.

Sapp said he panicked, crashed the truck, ran through a yard, stole a truck from an elderly man and also crashed this truck.

Investigation

Investigators continue to canvas NE 34th Street between 160th and 162nd Avenue — the scene of Monday’s carnage — and have not yet re-opened the area to the public.

Witnesses of the shooting estimated hearing an upwards of 15 gunshots, though it was unclear if Goudschaal had fired back upon the suspects.

Both suspects, who fled the shooting and quickly drove the truck into a tree, were arrested Monday afternoon, though the second arrest was made after law enforcement surrounded a nearby school bus barn and adjoining neighborhood to zero in on the suspect.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus