In the wake of a deadly officer-involved shooting in Spokane Valley late Wednesday night, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich addressed the community Friday, extending his condolences to Scott Creach's family, but urging the community not to jump to conclusions about what happened.
Sheriff Knezovich stood alongside Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey outside the Spokane County Courthouse Friday afternoon, saying his department wants to "express to the family of Wayne (Scott) Creach our sorrow for their loss."
A Spokane Valley Police Officer shot and killed Pastor Scott Creach in the parking lot of Creach's business late Wednesday night. According to Creach's family, he heard what he thought was a burglar at the Plant Farm just before 11 P.M., grabbed his gun and went outside to investigate. His wife reports hearing a shout followed by gunshots.
An autopsy Thursday revealed Creach died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. The police officer, whose name has not yet been released, was in the parking lot that night looking for suspicious activity. He was in an unmarked patrol car, but was wearing his uniform. It's not clear yet what led to the shooting and that part of the investigation has been handed over to the Spokane Police Department.
"We have to look at all the facts surrounding this situation," Sheriff Knezovich said. "As soon as we have them, I assure you, they will be provided."
Sheriff Knezovich acknowledged the concerns of Spokane Valley residents and the outrage many feel about what happened that night. Creach was a 74-year old pastor at Greenacres Baptist Church.
But, Knezovich also says it's important to let the investigation play out before citizens jump to conclusions. He also acknowledged the feelings experienced by the police officer who fired the shot, saying "We do our best our there to protect the public. No police officer goes to work intending to hurt one of the citizens they're sworn to protect."
Creach's family also reached out to that deputy in a statement they released Friday morning, saying "we know he will carry the memory of Wednesday night and this tragedy with him for the rest of his life."