Inmate dies after being shot at Vancouver hospital

The 66-year-old inmate was being held on a US Marshal Service parole violation

A Clark County Jail inmate was shot inside the Firstenburg Tower at PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver, May 18, 2017 (KOIN)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A Clark County Jail inmate being guarded by corrections deputies at PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver died after he was shot in an incident on the 5th floor of the Firstenburg Tower.

The incident happened at 10:41 a.m., said Clark County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Fred Neiman. The exact sequence of events is still under investigation, but the 66-year-old inmate, John Martin, was shot after some kind of threat to the deputies.

Clark County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Fred Nieman, May 18, 2017 (KOIN)
Clark County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Fred Neiman, May 18, 2017 (KOIN)

It is not clear at this time if both deputies fired their weapon or if the inmate had a weapon. Martin was wounded and taken to surgery, but died from his injuries. The medical examiner said the cause of death was “gunshot wound of the torso.”

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said Martin was being held on a US Marshal Service warrant for parole violation, escape from custody and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Neiman said the Clark County jail “frequently have folks in the jail who need medical treatment for one thing or another,” and it isn’t unusual for inmates to be taken for outside treatment.

He added there is a medical staff at the jail that takes care of most of the inmates’ needs. Transportation and security is under the jurisdiction of the correctional staff, he said.

Martin had undisclosed medical symptoms Wednesday and was taken to the hospital, where he stayed overnight as the corrections officers stood guard.

No one was else was injured and the incident was confined to one area. Officials said otherwise it is business as usual at the hospital.

“When your hospital is a place that opens its doors for anyone, to make sure anyone gets the medical care they need, you have to be prepared for anything,” said PeaceHealth Southwest spokesperson Kevin Snyder.

The officer-involved shooting did not include a Vancouver police officer, spokesperson Kim Kapp told KOIN 6 News. But the agency responded since the hospital is in the city and will take the lead investigative role in this case.

The corrections officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave, standard practice in these situations.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.