VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — The man who was shot to death in the lobby of Smith Tower Apartments in Vancouver was a 75-year-old man who grew up in Kansas and moved to California while he was still young.
Dean Tunstall died at the scene in the senior living community apartments on Thursday afternoon. Robert Breck, an 80-year-old resident, surrendered to police about 3 hours after Tunstall and 2 women were shot.
The victim’s family described him as a very independent person who could be a loner at times. They told KOIN 6 News that Tunstall also liked to poke fun at people, and they wondered if that might have played a role in the events that lead up to the shooting.
LaNeanne Tunstall and Adam Tunstall-Turner said they had been trying to get in touch with their father, Dean, for years. Both siblings said Dean disappeared from their lives when they were quite young. Ironically, LaNeanne said she had just discovered that Dean was living at Smith Tower a few weeks ago.
“I was so close,” she said. “I was so close.”
Unfortunately, time ran out for a reunion. Vancouver Police said he was shot by Breck in the lobby of the retirement home where they both lived, on October 3 — which also happened to be Adam’s birthday.
“I always wanted to know who he was and what he was about,” Adam said. “I would like to have known a little bit of history maybe, hear his voice, see him in person, not just have a picture.”
KOIN 6 News spoke with a different relative who asked not to be identified, that Dean grew up in Kansas and moved to California when he was around 10 or 12. He loved motorcycles and rode often. Dean eventually made his way north to Portland and had a copier business for just under a decade. Later, he moved to Vancouver and worked for a copier business until he retired at a young age because of back problems.
That family member described Dean as a good-natured man who was known for teasing people.
LaNeanne said she had a bad feeling last week that something was going to happen to prevent her and her father from finally connecting. Unfortunately, she said she was right.
“I knew that something bad was doing to happen before this got to that point where I actually got to see him face to face,” she said.
“I just always wished I got to know him,” said Adam. “Never had that opportunity and now I never will.”