Mary Lee Andison shot by Clark Co. deputies expected to survive

From The Columbian, June 25, 2011

The woman critically injured Friday after being shot by a SWAT officer was identified Saturday as Mary Lee Andison.

Andison, 60, reportedly told officers she wanted them to shoot her and advanced on them with a handgun.

Sheriff's deputies and a SWAT team were called to this Ridgefield-area home after a distraught woman was seen to be armed with a handgun.

Sheriff's deputies and a SWAT team were called to this Ridgefield-area home after a distraught woman was seen to be armed with a handgun.

Clark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Schanaker said Andison remains in critical condition. She has been transferred from Southwest Washington Medical Center to Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies declined to give the woman’s name Friday night, saying they first needed to make sure family members had been properly notified.

A Life Flight helicopter flew the woman to Southwest Washington Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition, Schanaker said in a bulletin Friday night.

Schanaker again on Saturday declined to reveal the name of the SWAT officer who shot the woman, as is customary policy immediately after such stressful incidents.

“You’re trying to keep yourself and others safe from a threat,” Schanaker said. “There’s stress involved with all police work.”

Schanaker said the office’s Major Crimes Unit will investigate the incident and forward reports to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutors can determine if any charges will be filed.

Then the sheriff’s office will do an internal affairs review to make sure officers followed protocol.

The situation surfaced when sheriff’s deputies were told that an armed woman had barricaded herself in an attic above a garage and was despondent and suicidal.

The 911 call at 12:57 p.m. reported a disturbance at 20404 N.W. 61st Ave.

At about 1:15 p.m., a deputy at the scene radioed that a woman at the home was armed with a handgun, which triggered the additional response.

Many officers were called to the scene, along with paramedics. A negotiator tried to make contact with the woman.

The attention was focused on a bonus room above the home’s 1,400-square-foot, three-bay garage, which is in a separate wing of the home. The woman was reported to be there.

Here is Schanaker’s account of what happened:

“Clark County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 20404 N.W. 61st Ave., in rural Clark County, to a request from family members for a welfare check of a despondent/suicidal female.

“Deputies arrived and encountered a 60-year-old female sitting on the floor holding a revolver handgun. Deputies ordered the female to drop the revolver, however, the female disregarded the instruction, stating the revolver was a ‘starter pistol’ and that she wanted the deputies to shoot her.

“The deputies safely withdrew to a position of cover as the female continually demanded the deputies to shoot her. The female then stood, holding the revolver in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other, and walked into a nearby room. Several minutes later deputies heard the sound of a single gunshot from inside the room.

“Due to the presence of the revolver and confirmation of numerous other weapons inside the residence, the Southwest Washington Regional SWAT team was activated. After approximately three and a half hours of phone contact and attempted negotiations with the female, SWAT operators inserted a camera through a second story window in attempt to have a visual of the female.

“The female immediately responded to this by exiting the room and advanced directly at SWAT operators as she pointed the revolver at them. A single SWAT operator fired on the female stopping the threat. No officers or deputies were injured.”

Emergency scanners monitored at The Columbian before the shooting indicated that SWAT officers were trying to avoid that outcome.

Their goal, an officer radioed, was “we can get aid to her without exposing ourselves too much.”

Schanaker said Friday night that the type of gun the woman had, including whether it was a harmless starter pistol, wouldn’t be released immediately.

Radio traffic during the intense standoff showed that officers took the threats involving the gun seriously.

A quick review of websites that sell starter pistols, including, shows that they are made to look like real bullet-shooting handguns. Starter pistols are made as highly detailed full-size replicas of many actual guns, ranging from Old West six-shooters and derringers to old and modern revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.

Some starter pistols on sale have orange plugs that are visible from the front. But, in many cases, when seen from the side, it isn’t clear from the sales photos that it’s a starter pistol.

After the shooting, detectives with the sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit were called to begin a detailed investigation and remained on scene for hours.

According to county property records, the home at that address is owned by Dr. Bruce and Mary Lee Andison. Bruce Andison is a local gynecologist.