Responding to a 911 call regarding the location of a wanted gunman, officers in Washington mistakenly shot the man who called in the tip, the Vancouver Police Department admitted in a press release Tuesday.
KPTV reports the shooting occurred Halloween morning as police in southwest Washington were conducting a manhunt for 59-year-old John Kendall.
Kendall was wanted for shooting his neighbor, Abigail Mounce, with whom he was scheduled to appear in court later that same morning. The two had reportedly been feuding for years.
During the hunt, police received a call at approximately 9:30 a.m. from a man saying he believed he spotted Kendall’s car in a gravel turnout on a secluded stretch of road.
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Investigators confirmed that signals from Kendall’s cellphone were detected in that area.
When a SWAT team arrived, they spotted a man who matched Kendall’s description.
“Unbeknownst to responding law enforcement personnel, the reporting citizen parked his vehicle in the gravel turnout nearby Kendall’s vehicle and remained on scene after hanging up,” the Vancouver Police Department’s statement read, according to KOIN.
“Law enforcement personnel watched as the citizen (believed to be Kendall) exited his vehicle and circled behind his trunk,” the statement continued, according to USA Today. “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.”
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The innocent man, who has requested that he not be identified, was shot in the leg.
Panicked, he ducked behind a rock and fired a shot from his own gun. Then he called 911, again, to say he had been shot. Police eventually made contact with him and, after realizing their mistake, administered first aid until medical help could arrive.
Three officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation being conducted by a team of representatives from regional law enforcement agencies.
The man was treated at a nearby hospital and released within a day.
The other victim, Mounce, was hospitalized with critical injuries to her face. Doctors said she will likely lose an eye.
Kendall was found later, in the woods, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.
Photo Source: KPTV