Portland man gets six years for 2021 shooting outside Vancouver hotel

A Portland man was sentenced last month to more than six years in prison for shooting a man in February 2021 outside a Comfort Inn & Suites in Vancouver.

Elijah W. Lawson, 30, pleaded guilty on June 22 in Clark County Superior Court to shooting while driving and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree. He was initially charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault, both while armed with a firearm, and unlawful possession of a second-degree firearm.

Court records indicate that Lawson had credited more than a year’s sentence.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Vancouver police responded shortly before 4:30 a.m. on February 18, 2021 to the hotel, 4714 NE 94th Ave., to a shooting report.

Cesar Camacho Trujillo was found in the hotel lobby suffering from a gunshot wound. A single shot grazed his chest, hit his right index finger and then lodged in his right thigh, according to the affidavit. Vancouver firefighters and AMR personnel responded and he was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Investigators learned that Camacho Trujillo was staying at the hotel and had just pulled into the parking lot. He was standing in front of the open driver’s door when he noticed a red 1999-2000 Dodge pickup truck driving slowly towards him. He said he dropped something and bent down to retrieve it when the driver of the van, later identified by police as Lawson, shot him, court records show.

The truck sped out of the parking lot and Camacho Trujillo ran into the hall for help.

CCTV showed the red pickup truck arriving at the hotel earlier in the morning. Lawson is seen entering the hotel and going to a room near Camacho Trujillo, where two women were also seen coming and going. He is then seen returning to his truck with one of the women, just before the shooting, according to court records.

Court records do not specify the motive for the shooting.

Hotel CCTV also captured the shooting. Lawson was identified after investigators distributed a bulletin with photos to area law enforcement, the affidavit states.

On February 20, 2021, a Gresham, Oregon police detective reached out and said multiple agencies were looking for Lawson, who was wanted on a felony warrant and as a person of interest in a shooting there. Lawson was reportedly arrested the day before at a residence in Portland, where a red Dodge pickup truck was also located. A revolver was found under the driver’s seat, the affidavit states.

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Sandy A. Greer