Spokane County Sheriff deputies were looking for Charlie Wallace, the man police say is responsible for the series of events that put thousands of people in danger, after he skipped a court date on federal drug charges, when they caught up with him and initiated a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon.
When deputies pulled him over, he opened fire. Deputy Matt Spink, 45, was shot in the leg while Deputy Mike Northway, 42, was shot four times, once in both arms and in each of his legs.
Wallace then led deputies on a chase all the way from North Spokane to Deer Park, where he crashed a stolen car and then shot himself in the head.
On Wednesday authorities revealed that Wallace was a passenger in the SUV he was riding in when sheriff's deputies pulled it over. There was also a woman and a female child inside the Chevy Suburban, so when Wallace initiated the shootout he put all of them in danger just so he could avoid going back to prison.
Wallace was a fugitive when he was pulled over on the Newport Highway Tuesday. He had walked away from a court-ordered stay at a drug rehab facility and detectives were finally able to track him down Tuesday afternoon.
"The drug team started looking for Mr. Wallace. Yesterday they coordinated with Deputy Spink and Deputy Northway to make a traffic stop at which time they were engaged in the gunfight," Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.
Deputies returned fire, even after they were shot, forcing Wallace back into the SUV. The bullet-riddled Suburban was found abandoned a few blocks away at Graves and Division. Police used patrol dogs to search for Wallace if he had fled on foot, but Wallace had already found another way out of the area.
"This individual fled from the scene kicked in a door and took keys from an 85-year-old woman and then fled the scene in her vehicle," Sheriff Knezovich said.
Air 1 later found Wallace speeding northbound on Highway 2 in the stolen Honda Accord, sometimes driving into incoming traffic.
"It appears according to the video that when he crossed over into the southbound lane, going northbound on Highway 2 he put a lot of citizens at risk, nearly causing multiple head-on collisions ," Knezovich said.
The danger prompted the Washington State Patrol to throw spike strips under Wallace's stolen Honda. The flattened tires and a collision with a patrol car ended the chase.
"Mr. Wallace's vehicle was hit by the back end of a patrol car and went into a jersey barrier. When confronted by law enforcement, Mr. Wallace inflicted one gunshot wound to his head, self-inflicted and died at the scene," Knezovich said.
Detectives have since located all of the people that were in Wallace's SUV when the shooting started. They are probably looking at aiding and abetting or harboring charges. The child in the backseat at the time of the shooting was not hurt.