SPOKANE, Wash. - What started as a routine traffic stop on Newport Highway ended with the shooting of two Spokane County Sheriff deputies, a carjacking, car chase and the suspect taking his own life in a car south of Deer Park.
At the traffic stop, where a deputy pulled over a man later identified as Charlie Wallace, something suspicious must have caught the deputy's eye because he called for backup before pulling over the SUV on Elm just off of Newport Highway.
As he was being pulled over, Wallace opened fire on two deputies.
"The suspect fired shots at the deputies, there was an officer down call. The suspect fled (and) went several blocks away to the west," Spokane police spokesperson Officer Jennifer Deruwe said.
It appears those deputies were able to return fire at Wallace because when his SUV was found at the intersection of Graves and Division his vehicle was riddled with bullet holes.
"He was very desperate, he was very dangerous and that is very alarming to both law enforcement and the community because when you fire at law enforcement officers, that shows you have no regard for anyone around you," Deruwe said.
Thinking the suspect had fled on foot police brought in several K9 teams, escort by officers armed with rifles, hoping to track the gunman to his hiding spot.
"So the K9 units are brought in, they have an excellent sense of smell, and we tried to utilize them to perhaps follow a suspect track," Deruwe said.
However Wallace had already fled the area. A few blocks away, at 9800 N. Andrews, he broke into an elderly woman's home and demanded the 85-year-old resident turn over her car keys. The woman chased Wallace out of her home, hitting him over the head with her cane, before he was able to steal her Honda Accord and headed northbound.Traffic stop turns deadly
Ultimately his life ended against a guardrail near West Crawford Street and Highway 395, but not before shooting at officers who had laid out spike strips to disable the car he was driving in an attempt to immobilize his vehicle.
Lori Musgrave owns the farmers market and bakery on West Crawford several blocks east of where Wallace crashed and was in the process of closing up for the day and bringing their signs in. She could hear pursuing officers in the distance while a helicopter buzzed overhead, and then saw Wallace drive by.
"Flying, just absolutely down the road," she said, recalling officers close on his tail as he fled down Crawford toward Highway 395, with his hand out of the car, waving a gun.
West Crawford was littered with shredded tire in the road, marking where the spike strips helped bring the pursuit to an end. Several witnesses, like Musgrave, also confirmed they saw Wallace holding a gun as he drove past. Several blocks later he went into the guardrail after crashing into an unmanned Spokane Police patrol car.
"Front bumper was off and I just told my staff, 'Run!'" Musgrave said.
Deputies set up a perimeter around the carjacked Honda Accord.
"You could see the smoke coming from the vehicle," Musgrave.
The pursuit wouldn't end quietly.
"No, I heard the pop," Musgrave said.
That pop was the sound of Charlie Wallace shooting himself in the head.
What started as a traffic stop, turned into Wallace shooting at two sheriff deputies that ended ultimately with Wallace killing himself.
Both of the deputies suffered at least one gunshot wound during this violent traffic stop. One required surgery to repair damage from the slug that hit him; the other deputy was treated in the emergency room. Both are in stable condition.