Robbery suspect shoots self following brief pursuit

SPOKANE - The man Spokane Police say robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy on Spokane's South Hill, then shot himself as police caught up with him.

The robbery took place at the Lincoln Heights Rite Aid pharmacy around 8:30 Tuesday night. Shortly after the robbery, a Spokane police officer spotted a man matching the suspect's description driving near downtown Spokane.

The officer attempted to pull the suspect over but he sped away. After a short pursuit police pulled a pit maneuver and stopped the suspect's vehicle in the middle of 5th Avenue near Sherman Street.

Officers surrounded the suspect who then pulled a gun out and shot himself. Spokane Police Spokesperson Jennifer DeRuwe says officers immediately switched gears to attempt to save the suspect.

"At that point, when he inflicts the wound upon himself we have to still approach and make sure everyone is safe and once we've been able to determine he's unable to hurt us then certainly we go into life saving measures," Officer DeRuwe said.

The suspect, identified Wednesday morning as 31-year-old Nicholas Burden, was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.

Because it was a shooting incident and Spokane Police were involved in attempting to apprehend the suspect the Spokane County Sheriff's Office will take over the investigation into the shooting.

Authorities say that Burden had been driving a stolen Jeep and is considered a suspect in a number of other pharmacy robberies involving Oxycontin, the same drug that was stolen from the South Hill Rite Aid Tuesday night.