Over the last year, law enforcement officers in Spokane have been sharply criticized for a series of officer-involved shootings. Now one man is thanking police for not shooting him during a domestic dispute when he was holding a loaded gun.
Joe, an unemployed carpenter who didn?t want to be identified, said by not opening fire during the standoff, the officers involved have given him a new lease on life. And he expressed his thanks to offers in a three-minute long voicemail he left for one of them.
?So easily you guys could have taken my life and I thank you for not doing that. And I thank you for actually coming into my life,? Joe said.
Joe was just a hair trigger away from getting shot by police two months ago in a phone booth at the Chevron station at the corner of Sprague and Freya. If they had opened fire, Joe said it would have been entirely his fault.
?They have every right to use deadly force, I honestly believe they did. I had a loaded gun in my hand,? Joe said.
The first officer to arrive on the scene was Tim Moses.
Moses: ?He fled the South Hill area, they put out a description of his truck and I just happened to roll right up on him when he stopped,? Moses said.
Joe: ?I realized I wanted to be left alone, I didn't want any argument so I reached into my truck and grabbed my firearm and pulled it out.?
Moses: ?He was not following commands correctly. He was reaching in the truck for the gun and I've replayed that over in my mind a thousand times. I could have shot him right then. I could have shot him a dozen different times. I mean we were 25 feet apart.?
Joe: ?I had put the gun to my head and told him to leave me alone. But Officer Moses is the one that talked to me like a human talked to me about my daughter but he was the one that treated me with a huge amount of respect as far as this just being a moment of crisis and please put the gun down.?
Moses: ?It seemed like I saw a light bulb go on, I know he heard me.?
Joe: ?It was at that time I took the gun out, I unloaded the clip, I put it on the ground and they took me into custody.?
The next day, as he was sitting in the Spokane County Jail, Joe had a surprise visitor.
?There's a knock on my jail cell door and there's Officer Moses, and God bless him he stopped there to check on me, and he promised me that every day would get better after that and it has,? Joe said.
?I honestly believe it should have ended differently. It should have ended a lot worse but because of his actions, and how he so professionally handled a person in a moment of crisis, I think he really saved my life that day,? he said.
Moses credited his training and his fellow officers for giving him a chance to resolve this standoff without using deadly force.
RELATED VIDEO: Voicemail: Man Thanks Police Officer For Not Shooting Him