A law enforcement probe of a June murder-suicide in Amboy found a combination of addiction and mental health issues preceded the shooting.
Investigators determined 56-year-old Robert E. Rowland shot Vernon W. Snider, 84, before shooting himself June 22 at Snider’s residence, 24707 N.E. 419th St.
Snider died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office, and his death was ruled a homicide, meaning it resulted from another person’s deliberate action. The ruling does not make any judgments about criminal culpability.
Rowland, also of Amboy, died of a gunshot wound to the head, and the medical examiner’s office ruled his death a suicide.
While reports from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit don’t pinpoint a motive for the shooting, the investigation documents Rowland’s internal struggle.
“After completing the interviews and seeing Robert’s house, it was apparent he was struggling with mental health and addiction issues,” one report reads.
Snider’s daughter, Darcy Eve Snider, lived with her father, and on the day of the shooting, returned home around 7 p.m.
She found both men dead and immediately called 911. While her father was found in the living room, Rowland was located on the porch with a black Glock semi-automatic pistol near his right hand, according to investigators’ reports.
“When Darcy got home, she noticed Robert lying on the front porch and thought he may be playing a joke on her,” one report reads. “Darcy did not know why Robert would have shot her father or why Robert would have been at the house.”
The crime scene investigation indicated a struggle had ensued between Vernon Snider and Rowland in the living room. Snider appeared to have suffered additional gunshot wounds after falling to the ground, the reports state.
Rowland lived a few blocks away from Snider and had dated Darcy Snider until about a year before the shooting. While Rowland and her father didn’t get along while the couple dated, they mostly avoided each other, she said. She told investigators she hadn’t had much contact with Rowland since moving out of their shared residence.
But a week before the shooting, Rowland had given his former girlfriend items to sell at a yard sale.
Darcy Snider and several other witnesses described Rowland as often being drunk and confrontational, recounting at least one incident in which he allegedly brandished a pistol and threatened to kill a woman in a Safeway parking lot in Battle Ground, according to investigators.
A records check revealed Rowland had a warrant out of Kelso stemming from a 2015 arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, the reports state.
Investigators searching Rowland’s residence after the shooting found the home “dilapidated and falling apart.” There was an “immense amount of water damage upstairs” and a “sea of beer cans and trash” downstairs, according to their reports.
Hours before the shooting, Rowland was involved in a verbal altercation with a man at the Chelatchie Prairie General Store in Amboy.
Rowland began harassing customers at the store, questioning why several regulars were “always sitting around the store.” One of the customers, Ed Declusion, jokingly told him “it was so they could answer stupid questions for guys like him,” according to investigators’ reports.
When Rowland became upset, Declusion said he apologized and agreed to go have beers at Rowland’s house.
Declusion told investigators Rowland was “obviously despondent.” He described the conversation as tense and uncomfortable, leading Declusion to choose his words carefully.
“Robert also told Ed that he was sick and tired of everyone and everything,” a report reads. “Robert made no comments or statements to Ed that caused him to believe he was homicidal or suicidal.”