The accused WinCo Foods shooter started having paranoid ideas at least 17 years ago that people were out to get him by spraying his home and poisoning his food with chemicals, a state report shows.
Matthew D. McQuin says everyone from extended relatives trying to trick his family out of money, to co-workers and old friends have plotted against him.
Then on July 30, he walked into the Richland grocery store and fired once at the head of a stranger because he thought the woman was following him and about to spray him with a chemical.
The victim, Jenna Kline, a veterinarian, survived the bullet wound.
Three weeks later in an interview with a state psychologist, McQuin acknowledged he was not in his right mind that night at WinCo.
But he clung to the idea that Kline may have been out to harm him.
“I still think there is a chance she was helping them,” McQuin told psychologist Cory Fanto, according to a report on the mental health evaluation.
The 45-year-old Umatilla truck driver also asked if any “chemicals” would be detected in the sample of his blood that was taken after his arrest, according to Fanto’s 13-page report on the mental health evaluation.
McQuin suffers from schizophrenia or a psychotic disorder that may have been brought on by using methamphetamine and marijuana, Fanto concluded. McQuin also continues to have some paranoid delusions and hallucinations related to smell.
However, McQuin understands the circumstances around his attempted first-degree murder charge and can help attorney Ryan Swinburnson in preparing a defense, the report states.
Swinburnson told a judge during a recent hearing that he questions the competency finding by Eastern State Hospital and wants a second opinion.
Another hearing was scheduled for mid-November so the defense has time to get an independent evaluation. In the meantime, McQuin is locked up on $500,000 bail.
McQuin was interviewed by the state psychologist in August after his criminal case was put on hold.
He explained that he has been a truck driver for 14 years, but hasn’t held a full-time job for 1 1/2 years. He said he really liked that last job, but had to abandon his truck before completing a delivery and ended up flying home because he thought someone was spraying chemicals on him.
McQuin said aside from temporary work, most of his time is spent watching movies and “making sure his house is locked up. His expressed reasoning for doing so reflected some paranoid ideation regarding the people he claimed to be ‘messing’ with him.”
He served in the Army from 1991-94 as a member of a tank crew, but did not see any action in combat.
He reportedly has a family history of mental disorders and was first prescribed anti-psychotic medication and mood stabilizers about 14 to 16 years ago, but is not consistent in taking them. He also reported stays in inpatient psychiatric units at least four times in 2001, which he described as “a bad year.”
McQuin explained that he believes people started “messing with me hard” in 1999, and then “stepped it up” in 2001 by spraying chemicals and trying to make it look like a drug overdose, the report said.
He used meth in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including intravenously for about three years.
Asked about recent drug and alcohol use, McQuin said he last smoked marijuana a week before the WinCo shooting and drank alcohol three days before. He added that he has not used meth for about 15 years.
He denied having any thoughts about suicide or killing someone else, and said while he feels safe in jail he does look forward to getting out.
But McQuin doubts he will be set free, saying he doesn’t think he will get a fair trial because he believes the community is fearful of him, the report said.
And he “described some discomfort with the media being present during his appearances and ‘everybody looking at me like I’m a scumbag.’ ”
However, if the case goes to trial, McQuin told Fanto he sees an advantage in testifying.
McQuin said “he did not mind coming out with the truth about what was going on and that the truth ‘will set you free.’ ”