Local News

Suspect dead in Spokane Valley officer-involved shooting

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - One man is dead following an officer-involved shooting in the 1300 block of N. Skipworth in Spokane Valley following a confrontation with police.

The incident started Tuesday night when a woman reported to police that she had been stabbed by her boyfriend, suffering superficial wounds. Officers came out to her house to take her statement Wednesday.

A short time later, after officers left the house, they spotted the suspect driving his girlfriend's black Mercedes in the neighborhood and started chasing him.

The suspect ditched the car two blocks into the chase and circled back to his girlfriend's house on foot, where he was confronted by other deputies who responded to the scene.

There was a confrontation between deputies and the suspect in the backyard of the girlfriend's house, shots were fired and the suspect was hit.

Spokane Valley officer involved shooting

One witness in the neighborhood said they heard at least three gunshots.

Officers performed CPR on the suspect while medical personnel were still en-route to the scene. He was transported from the scene by ambulance to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The critical incident protocol has been enacted, which means that other law enforcement agencies will independently investigate the shooting. The Spokane Police Department will be the lead agency in the shooting, with assistance from both the Washington State Patrol and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The last time the critical incident protocol was used was in June after the shootings of two Spokane County Sheriff's deputies during a traffic stop on Charlie Wallace, who later took his own life following a high-speed pursuit.

The suspect has not been identified by authorities; his identity will be released after the medical examiner performs an autopsy.

Early on into the shooting investigation a witness in the neighborhood said the suspect was in a car with a woman, who was driving. The suspect punched the woman and the witness said he called 911 to report that incident. That situation was unrelated to the domestic violence incident that ended with the officer-involved shooting.

This is the second deputy-involved shooting this year, though the two incidents were vastly different.

In June two deputies -- Matt Spink and Mike Northway -- were shot by Charlie Wallace during a north Spokane traffic stop. Wallace led deputies on a high-speed chase all the way to Deer Park, where he crashed the stolen car he was driving and, as deputies closed in, shot himself in the head. Spink and Northway are continuing to recuperate from their injuries.

The one incident that still polarizes the community, and Spokane County deputies take heat over, is the 2010 shooting of Spokane Valley Pastor Scott Creach outside his plant farm.

The shooting was ruled justified but deputies have faced scrutiny ever since; the Creach family is currently suing the county for damages.

One change that came about in the wake of the Creach shooting was how soon deputies involved can give their side of the story.

When Deputy Brian Hirzel shot and killed Creach, the critical incident protocol was immediately invoked, a process that's supposed to allow an outside agency to step in and ultimately find out the truth about what happened.

At the time of the Creach shooting that protocol prohibited Hirzel from giving a statement until after a three day cooling off period. Because Hirzel had a pre-planned vacation to go on, he didn't give a statement until 9 days after the shooting, which opened the door for scrutiny about the process.

After that, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich dropped the 72-hour waiting period, meaning deputies can give statements about what happened as soon after the shooting as they want to.

They're not required to, but they can, which could mean the public would get more information about Wednesday's shooting in Spokane Valley even sooner.