A woman opened fire on a former co-worker she was stalking, according to court documents, but she was tackled to the ground, punched and pistol-whipped by another employee before further damage could be done.
Deborah Lennon, 46, appeared in court Thursday with several injuries to her face. She is charged with attempted murder, assault, stalking and cyberstalking.
Police said she shot Allen Bricker, 45, on the fourth floor of the Clark County Center for Community Health in Vancouver Tuesday.
Bricker is a chief financial officer for the VA's Veterans Integrated Service Networks. Lennon resigned as a financial auditor in the office two years ago, according to the VA.
Court documents state Lennon had stalked Bricker in 2012 and 2013 with phone calls and emails that were sexually suggestive, professed love for him, told him to leave his wife and also threatened him and his family.
Bricker filed for a restraining order in January 2013, but court documents state Lennon could not be located to serve it. Other employees told police they thought she had left the area.
At 4 p.m. Tuesday, witnesses said they heard a commotion and Bricker yelled, "She's got a gun." Shots were then heard and Bricker shouted, "I've been shot," according to court documents.
Neil Burkhardt, a program manager for the VA who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, told police he was aware of the stalking allegations involving Lennon and Bricker. He said he recognized the shooter as Lennon.
Burkhardt tackled Lennon, sending her head crashing through an office window, a probable cause affidavit states. Burkhardt said he couldn't immediately find the gun and was fearful he was going to be shot, so he began punching Lennon in the face.
Another employee, identified as Matthew Doyle, a VA budget analyst, located a .38 revolver and kicked it away. Burkhardt picked it up and pointed it at Lennon.
He told police she then reached for her purse, according to court documents. Burkhardt told police he believed she could have had another weapon, so he hit her with the butt end of the pistol and kicked away the purse.
A security officer put Lennon in handcuffs until police arrived at the scene.
Court documents state she unexpectedly showed up at the office at least two other times in recent weeks before the shooting.
A probable cause affidavit says Lennon entered at the fourth-floor office on Jan. 21. Bricker asked another VA employee to talk to her, because he refused to speak with her.
Court documents state she showed up again on Jan. 30. Employees told investigators she entered through an unsecured back door after the office was closed for the day. It's not believed she interacted with anyone and walked out the front door.
Locks were installed on all the back doors the following day.
Bricker suffered serious injuries in the shooting. The VA issued a statement saying he is expected to make a full recovery, but court documents state he was shot twice and one of the bullets was lodged in his spine and could not be removed.
Burkhardt suffered a broken hand, while Lennon was treated and released from the hospital before being booked in the Clark County Jail.
Lennon is due back in court Feb. 20.
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