VANCOUVER — Police from all over Southwest Washington swarmed Northeast Vancouver when a call of “Officer Down” came over their radios late Monday morning. They couldn’t get there fast enough. Luckily, there were a few witnesses to help the wounded officer.
Officer Dustin Goudschaal, who patrols on a motorcycle, was pulling over a truck with stolen plates at Northeast 162nd Avenue and 34th Street when he was shot at least a half-dozen times. Officer Goudschaal fired back as the driver took off.
A dispatcher tried to contact him, but didn’t get an answer. A citizen got on the radio to call for help. A woman driving by stopped to help, tying a scarf around the officer’s head and neck to control the bleeding. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition. His ballistic vest likely saved his life.
“He was standing and I saw him go down on his back. I just stood over him and I froze. He was shot kind of high in the upper shoulder, chest or maybe neck area,” said neighbor Jerry.
Goudschaal is 32-years-old and has worked for the police department since 2008. He received a Meritorious Service Award in 2011 and worked the traffic beat since last September.
“It’s one of the worst nightmares that we go through,” said Police Chief James McElvain.
Two people were detained and one man was arrested. James Sapp, 47, is charged with attempted murder, robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm. He appeared in court on Tuesday.
Sapp is said to be a white supremacist who has a violent history with six felony convictions for assault, eluding police and drug offenses. He was wanted at the time for possession of methamphetamine and heroin. He’s being held on $10M bail and will be arraigned next week.
The other man with Sapp was Timothy Plantenberg. He says he grabbed the steering wheel to cause the truck to crash into a tree so he could get out of the vehicle. Plantenberg says Sapp shot at him. He hid in bushes for more than two hours before surrendering.
After crashing, police say Sapp carjacked an 88-year-old man’s truck on NE 31st Street and crashed that as well leading to his arrest.
Neighbors got an automated call telling them to stay inside and lock their doors and windows.
As police were racing to the scene, another officer was injured in a crash on SR 500 and Stapleton Road.