Sheriff's office: Suspect, victim in Vancouver shooting were former co-workers

Sheriff's office: Suspect, victim in Vancouver shooting were former co-workers »Play Video
The shooting occurred in the health building on the Vancouver campus of the Portland VA Medical Center on Tuesday (Photo: Clark Co. Sheriff's Office).

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Detectives said a former employee of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in Vancouver shot her former co-worker twice in the chest on Tuesday.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office released more details about the shooting on Wednesday.

The shooting occurred on the Vancouver campus of the Portland VA Medical Center. It happened on the fourth floor of Building 17, which is the Center for Community Health.

Detectives said Deborah Lennon, 46, shot Allen Bricker, 45, twice in the chest.

Another VA employee, 31-year-old Neil Burkhardt of Portland, wrestled the gun away from Lennon after the shooting, investigators said. Burkhardt, who is a Marine veteran and current VA employee, injured his right hand and stayed in a hospital Tuesday night, detectives said.

The specific nature of Bricker’s injuries is unknown, but the sheriff’s office said his wounds were serious and significant.

The Portland VA Medical Center said in a news release Wednesday that Bricker is expected to make a full recovery.

"(Bricker) is a 21-year employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs and a beloved member of our staff. He is also a United States Air Force Honor Graduate and a Veteran," the VA news release said.

Bricker and Lennon were both taken to a hospital. Lennon was guarded by law enforcement while there. She was injured during the scuffle with Burkhard and suffered some injuries to her face and chest.

Court documents reveal Lennon may have been stalking and harassing Bricker.

In January of 2013, Bricker provided a judge copies of emails that Lennon had sent him.

In one email, she wrote, "Leave your wife and come be with me. I do my best work around you so it's really a matter of national security."

In another she refers to a house she wants to move into with Bricker. "So, what do we put on the welcome mat - Space Master Allen Bricker and his lovely sidekick 2nd Coming of Christ Debbie Bricker?"

In another email, Lennon takes a somewhat threatening tone. "There's this movie thing next Thursday I RSVP'd for the both of us. Show up or die (very lovingly)."

Bricker knew he had a problem on his hands when he wrote his bosses an email saying, "I want to touch bases with you about a former...employee who is stalking me. ... "Her emails range from quoting Bible scriptures to threatening to kill me. She is talking to realtors and copying me on the email as if we are a couple."

In those court documents, Bricker requested a restraining order against Lennon.

Lennon was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and taken to the Clark County Jail. She faces charges of first-degree attempted murder, stalking, cyber-stalking and two counts of first-degree assault, according to the sheriff's office.

She's expected to make her first court appearance Thursday morning.

Investigators said Lennon formerly worked at the Center for Community Health with Bricker.

Lennon resigned from the VA two years ago to move out of state, according to the Portland VA Medical Center. She worked as a financial auditor.

The sheriff's office had no information on a possible motive but said the investigation is ongoing.

The facility resumed normal operations on Wednesday, but the offices where the shooting occurred were closed.

Tuesday’s shooting was the second workplace shooting in Vancouver in two days. On Monday, police said a driver for Benjamin Moore Paints shot and killed a manager at that business and then fatally shot himself.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.