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Murder, suicide shatters weekend calm

A husband and wife died in an apparent murder-suicide Monday that also left a male roommate wounded.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) believes Kenneth Van Patten, 61, killed his wife, Melinda Van Patten, 56, in their home outside Hillsboro at 5355 S.W. River Road in unincorporated Washington County.by: COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN-TV - Investigators from the Washington County Sheriffs Office gather at 5355 S.W. River Road south of Hillsboro after a murder-suicide over the holiday weekend.

Kenneth also allegedly shot Glen Hamilton, 56, before turning the gun on himself. Hamilton, who was living in the house, fled to a neighbor’s home with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.

According to WCSO spokesman Sgt. Bob Ray, deputies responded to a Sunday, May 26, call that Kenneth Van Patten, 61, and Melinda Van Patten, 56, were arguing over getting a divorce.

Ray said Melinda was apparently involved with the roommate, Glen Hamilton, 56, who was not present at the time of the visit.

Ray explained that WCSO deputies could not arrest either of the Van Pattens during the Sunday visit because no crime had been committed. Although they were arguing, there was no physical violence, Ray said.

“We tried to talk at least one of them into leaving the house, but they refused. There was nothing more we could do,” said Ray, adding that the same thing had happened three times in the previous two months.

The next day, Kenneth shot Melinda multiple times. Hamilton was in the home and fled to a neighbor’s house. Kenneth fired at him multiple times, both inside and outside the house. Hamilton was struck once with a bullet that passed through his buttocks.

Another neighbor saw Hamilton running from the house. Jared Whitney said he was unpacking from a long weekend in southern Oregon when he heard gunshots and looked up.

“It really took me by surprise, so then I poked my head out from the other side of the truck to see from my vantage point,” Whitney explained. “I have a clear view of the fence, and I saw a guy just tumble over — his feet were going over his head and he landed on the ground on all fours.”

The neighbor at the house where Hamilton fled called 911. Deputies responded to the call at 6:26 p.m. on Monday. When they arrived and entered the house, the deputies discovered that Melinda had been shot multiple times in the torso and Kenneth had shot himself in the head.

Deputies then located Hamilton at the house where he had fled. He was transported to OHSU for treatment, and he is expected to fully recover from his wounds.

The Sunday 911 call came from a friend of Melinda. She was talking to her on the phone and heard an argument with Kenneth begin. The friend hung up and called 911 to report it. Neighbors heard arguing earlier in the day and on previous occasions, including a number of times when they called 911 to report it.

According to Ray, the Van Pattens are longtime residents of the area, and they had been married for several decades. Ray said they have adult children who were not living in the house.

Deputies regret they were not able to prevent the shootings, Ray said.

“This kind of situation happens all the time. We spend all day responding to domestic disturbance calls, and lots of times, we can’t get the people to separate. It’s very frustrating,” Ray said.

— KOIN Local 6

contributed to this story.




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