SPOKANE, Wash. - A 17-year old who pointed a gun at a sheriff's deputy will now face attempted murder charges, saying he "forgot to take the safety off" when encountering that deputy.
Sheriff's deputies responded to what began as a vehicle prowling around 10:00 Monday morning in the 15800 block of East Sprague. As deputies approached, they say Colten Singleton pulled out a "shortened, 'pistol-grip' style shotgun and pointed it a a deputy. According to a news release, "the juvenile suspect appeared to slip [and] didn't fire the weapon."
As he was being arrested, the deputy told another deputy, "He tried to shoot me." At that time, the deputies say Singleton interjected, saying "I forgot to take the safety off."
Deputies say the 17-year old was belligerent, calling the deputies "F-ing [edited] pigs." As he was advised of his rights, he reportedly told them he, "didn't like cops" and that "cops are f-ing [edited] corrupt."
The second suspect, 22-year old Ilder Vasquez, ran from the scene and was arrested a short time later.
"Tell me again how property crimes are non-violent," Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said. "I am so tired of listening to elected officials in our community tell people property crimes are non-violent in order to justify not fixing our criminal justice system and our jail, or holding these offenders accountable. Fail to deal with the small crimes and they will result in larger crimes."
"These habitual offenders continue to victimize our community knowing that they will not be held accountable," Sheriff Knezovich continued. "We were lucky today; these 'non-violent property offenders' didn't kill our deputy, not because they didn't try, but because he couldn't get his gun to fire. The deputy and his family had an angel sitting on his shoulder today."
The Sheriff called on elected officials pointing to a need for action.
“It's time for elected officials of this county, and of the City of Spokane to open their eyes, pull their heads out of the sand and deal with this issue," he said.
When asked what change would be necessary to improve the issue, the Sheriff suggested effort from elected officials and the people of Spokane to fix a criminal justice system that, he says, is "broken" and fails hold non-violent property offenders accountable.
“What it's going to take is elected officials who have enough courage to go to the citizens out there and say 'we need to fix the problem. It may cost some money but we're going to need your help,'" Sheriff Knezovich said.
Singleton will be charged as an adult with Attempted 1st Degree murder, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Possession of an Unlawful Firearm. Vasquez is being held on warrants and will face additional charges based on this incident.