The suspect in a fatal Tuesday afternoon shooting at a central Vancouver strip mall told a detective he “did not mean to hurt anyone” and that he was “shooting at the ground,” court records say.
But during a first appearance Wednesday morning in Clark County Superior Court, a prosecutor said Antoine Steven Archer, 20, of Vancouver carried out the killing in “cold blood.” He is facing second-degree murder. The victim, 18-year-old Trevonta Billie Steven Burks, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The two knew each other, and the shooting erupted from a verbal altercation that had turned physical. Archer shot Burks and accidentally shot himself in the hand, according to police. He was located shortly after at an urgent care clinic, police said, where he sought treatment for his wound.
Archer was escorted into the courtroom Wednesday wearing a suicide-prevention smock, given to inmates who may try to harm themselves with standard jail clothing. A bandage was wrapped around his left hand and up his arm.
About a dozen family and friends attended the hearing in support of Archer. A woman sobbed as he entered the courtroom in shackles, burying her face in her hands.
Scoffs and sobs sounded from the courtroom gallery when Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu asked that Archer’s bail be set at $2 million. The outburst prompted Archer to turn toward the gallery.
“You need to face forward,” Judge Suzan Clark told him.
Vu told the court that the shooting was carried out in broad daylight near the busy corner of Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard and Northeast Stapleton Road. He said despite Archer not having prior criminal convictions, under the law, the young man wasn’t allowed to be in possession of a firearm.
Clark granted Vu’s request on bail, while voicing concerns over the nature of the incident and threat to the public.
Archer will be arraigned Feb. 19.
Archer’s supporters declined to talk to media after the hearing. But one woman turned as she was leaving the courthouse and said, “We all need to stop killing each other. Black lives matter, period.” She underscored her words with claps.
Shortly before 2:30 p.m., Vancouver police responded to reports of multiple gunshots at 5201 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., just south of the department’s West Precinct office. The small strip mall sits on the corner, behind a Vine bus stop. Witnesses said a dark-colored sedan, possibly a Mazda, fled from the scene, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Burks was found suffering a gunshot wound to his chest on the east side of the strip mall. First responders with AMR pronounced him dead at the scene, the affidavit says.
The victim’s sister was among the witnesses to the shooting. Their mother arrived at the scene around 3 p.m.
Officers worked to cordon off the scene behind caution tape and take statements from nearby witnesses.
Around the same time, a woman called 911, identified herself as Tara Paige and said she is the owner of a 2015 Mazda 3. She told dispatchers that she and her son, identified as Archer, were at the Kaiser Permanente Urgent Care on Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard so he could be treated for a gunshot wound, the court document states.
Officers contacted Archer there. He was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center for treatment of a “through and through” gunshot wound to his left hand, according to court records.
Video surveillance from the nearby Quick Stop Smoke Shop, east of where seven bullet casings were located, captured the shooting. Burks is seen walking toward the driver’s side of the Mazda, which is occupied by Archer. A physical altercation ensues, and Archer is seen getting out of the vehicle. He draws a weapon and shoots at Burks, who turns to run, the affidavit says.
“Smoke and recoil can be seen emitting from the discharging firearm,” the affidavit reads. After the shooting, Archer is seen clutching his left hand.
Court records do not indicate what prompted the altercation.
Archer was contacted by a detective at the hospital. He asked if there was a “deceased person” and was told yes, court records say. He began to cry and said he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, the affidavit states.