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Woman accused of shooting at Vancouver Veterans Affairs office is former co-worker of victim

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VANCOUVER, Wash. - The woman accused of shooting and injuring a worker at a Veterans Affairs office in Vancouver is a former employee of the office, and another employee wrested away her gun, the VA and Clark County sheriff's office said Wednesday.

Deborah A. Lennon went to Allen Bricker's fourth-floor office in the Center for Community Health building on the Veterans Affairs campus Tuesday afternoon and shot him twice in the chest with a handgun, the sheriff's office said. Another VA employee, Neil Burkhardt, a former Marine, took away the gun, and responding officers took Lennon into custody.

Bricker, 45, and Lennon, 46, both of Vancouver, were taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

Bricker's wounds are considered serious. Lennon suffered some injuries to her face and chest in the scuffle. Both remained hospitalized Wednesday, and the sheriff's office said Lennon was under guard.

Burkhardt, 31, of Portland, was treated for a hand injury he suffered while disarming Lennon and spent the night in a hospital.

Bricker and Burkhardt are expected to make a full recovery, the VA said in a statement Wednesday.

Bricker is a 21-year employee and the chief financial officer of the Veterans Integrated Service Network 20, which has regional oversight for eight medical centres and 39 clinics in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska, the VA said. Lennon had resigned from the VA about two years ago to relocate out of state. She served as a financial auditor with VISN 20.

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

Vancouver police, state troopers, Veterans Affairs police and sheriff's deputies all responded to help clear people from the building, and crime scene investigators spent the night processing evidence.

It was the second workplace shooting in two days in the southwest Washington city.

On Monday, a paint company driver fatally shot a company manager and then killed himself at a Vancouver business park.

Police found the manager, Ryan E. Momeny, 45, lying dead in front of the Benjamin Moore Paint distribution centre. Robert R. Brown, 64, a company driver, was found inside a vehicle in the parking lot, dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Vancouver police said.

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