SPOKANE, Wash. - Four seconds. That was the amount of time between an armed robbery suspect walking out of a house, officers telling him to drop his weapon and more than a dozen shots being fired, killing him.
Late Thursday afternoon the Spokane County Medical Examiner identified the man shot by Spokane Police Wednesday evening as Stephen Corkery, 30, of Spokane.
A standoff began just before 7 p.m., when Corkery noticed police activity and came to the door of a residence in the 1500 block of West Grace. Police used a patrol car public address system to talk with him, telling him they were obtaining a warrant for his arrest as a suspect in multiple armed robberies across Spokane.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Jeff Sevigney said Corkery stepped outside the house, armed with a handgun, and that's when police ordered him to drop the weapon and surrender. He refused.
"At some point the officers believed that their safety and the safety of the community was at risk, and they engaged the individual," Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said.
Cellphone video shot by an onlooker standing across the street from the house where Corkery was holed up showed it was a matter of seconds between him exiting the house and officers opening fire.
The video shows plain clothes officers standing behind unmarked vehicles while near the center of the video screen is one unmarked patrol car. An officer can be heard telling the suspect to give up over the public address system.
"Give up? That's the right thing to do is give up? That's not optimistic," an unidentified observer said in the video.
For about a minute the police continue to try and coax Corkery out of the house. At one minute, seven seconds into the video, the door on the house opens and he walks out. Almost immediately officers start shouting followed by more than a dozen gunshots. The front of the house shows 14 separate bullet impacts that were marked by detectives as part of the shooting investigation.
It was exactly four seconds time elapsed from the moment the suspect stepped out of the house until the last shot was fired. A female onlooker repeated "Oh my God" several times while another asked, "Why would you shoot him?"
Officers, including a SWAT team medic, treated Corkery for his gunshot wounds until paramedics arrived at the residence to transfer him to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries. The medical examiner confirmed his cause of death was due to gunshot wounds, but did not specify how many times he was hit.
Officers recovered a firearm on the scene, but Straub declined to comment if the suspect fired it at officers. Officers also recovered a gun at the home that matches the description of a gun used in recent robberies. The Washington State Patrol is now in possession of that weapon. It's not clear if this was the gun recovered from the suspect after the shooting or if there was a second gun recovered from the residence.
The Spokane Police Department is continuing its ongoing investigation into the rash of armed robberies they suspect Corkery is tied to while the State Patrol, as the managing agency for the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team, will be investigating the officer involved shooting. The names of the officers involved in the shooting have not been released by the Spokane Police Department.
Once the State Patrol completes its investigation into the shooting, the case will be forwarded on to the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office to determine whether or not officers were justified in shooting Corkery.
Corkery had a single previous conviction for buglary, according to the Department of Corrections. He served a year and eight months of his sentence at the Airway Heights Corrections Center and was released in February 2013. He was still under Department of Corrections supervision Wednesday night.
People who live in the house where Corkery was confronted by police said he didn't live there but would stay there from time to time. After having spent time at Airway Heights on the burglary charge, the people who lived in the house said Corkery did not want to get sent back to prison.
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