Police find 2 bodies in burned-out Wash. home

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2011 10:38 PM
Police find 2 bodies in burned-out Wash. home

Police said Thursday they found two bodies in the rubble of a house that burned to the ground as a man inside shot multiple rounds from rifles and handguns for 90 minutes and kept fire crews at bay.

Clark County sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Allais said there was no information yet about the gender or identities of the bodies recovered from the southwest Washington home.

Neighbors said a man, his wife and another woman lived in the home. Nobody has reported seeing seen them since the Wednesday morning fire.

The remains of four dogs were also found. Allais said one dog apparently was killed by gunfire but he didn't know what killed the other three.

Investigators could be on the scene for days trying to determine what happened, he said.

Authorities did not release the identity of the owner or occupants.

The Columbian reported the owner is believed to be a self-proclaimed white separatist who was arrested in Idaho in 1995 over allegations he threatened his ex-wife.

At the time of the man's arrest in Bonner County, Idaho, authorities confiscated more than two dozen weapons, including six AK-47s and a grenade launcher, according to an Associated Press story.

Homer Adams worked for the owner of the Washougal home. He said the man, who worked at a landscaping company, was a fair boss.

Adams said the man did mention Randy Weaver, a white separatist involved in a deadly confrontation with federal agents in Idaho in 1992. Adams said the homeowner also seemed angry about the 1993 federal action in Waco, Texas, that led to the deaths of dozens of members of the Branch Davidian Church.

Adams described the man as an expert in several types of firearms after more than 20 years in the U.S. Army and said he went out with the Washougal homeowner several times.

"If he was shooting at something, he was going to hit it," Adams said. "I would know, he could shoot."

The man had recently cut the lawn of neighbor Art Sailer and planned to trim Sailer's pink dogwood tree.

"He always seemed very nice, a hard worker," Sailer said.

Police said two people went to the burning home Wednesday morning to see if it was occupied and saw a man who told them to leave. That man then opened fire with multiple weapons, they said.

The large residential property included a house and shop. The gunfire forced firefighters to let the fire burn itself out, so the buildings were destroyed.

No serious injuries were reported from the gunfire, although one bullet pierced the side window of an arriving police car.

Police evacuated nearby houses, and four schools were temporarily locked down.

No officers fired their weapons, police said.

Authorities have declined to discuss a possible motive for the gunfire.