SPOKANE - Detectives investigating the officer-involved shooting of Scott Creach are studying a digital recording of radio traffic between Deputy Brian Hirzel and dispatchers which will help build the timeline between the moment Hirzel parked at the Plant Farm and his request for medical assistance after Creach had been shot.
On Wednesday Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich held an impromptu press conference during which he gave the local media a better understanding of just how quickly this incident escalated from a proactive prowl check to the shooting of a long-time Spokane Valley businessman.
Dispatch recordings show Deputy Brian Hirzel was parked in the Plant Farm parking lot for just two minutes before he was confronted by Scott Creach. The 74-year-old property owner apparently thought that Hirzel was a thief stealing some plants just behind his unmarked patrol car.
Members of Scott Creach?s family indicate that the night of August 25 was not the first time he had picked up a gun to protect his property. Alan Creach, Scott?s son, explained that his father often patrolled their seven acres of greenhouses armed with a pistol and a flashlight.
However Alan Creach said, ?I never saw him chamber a round as he left the house. He always had that gun ready but it was a tool in hand just like the flashlight he had in his other hand.?
A handgun was recovered from the Plant Farm parking lot not far from Creach?s body. Because this is an ongoing investigation no information about the gun?s status ? and whether or not a round was in the chamber ? has been released.
The sight of the handgun might have been the indicator that made Deputy Hirzel feel he faced imminent danger.
?His first radio traffic was Code Six, meaning he was in need of immediate assistance,? Sheriff Knezovich said.
Because Hirzel called Code Six, a signal to send him back up, it appears Hirzel felt threatened. It also meant the deputy had time to spot Creach coming across the parking lot and assess the situation.
?Within 10 seconds he stated shots fired, need medics,? Knezovich said. ?Those [were] the first words out of his mouth to ensure that medics were en-route.?
What happened during those 10 seconds and why Hirzel ultimately shot Creach are the tough questions Hirzel says he's anxious to answer when he meets with detectives on Friday.
?He has affirmed he is willing and wants to do this interview. This should state something folks; this should state he wants everyone to know what happened this night,? Sheriff Knezovich said.
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