SPOKANE, Wash. -

The City of Spokane announced Wednesday they have terminated fire captain Kevin Smathers after a four-month investigation for violating Civil Service rules and City policies by threatening a subordinate employee.

But Smathers is firing back with a lawsuit against the city for $2.5 million dollars.

City officials claim Smathers sent a threatening e-mail to a subordinate employee from a personal e-mail account last April. He's also accused of keeping a pair of metal knuckles in a city vehicle, and improperly storing three city firearms in an unapproved personal safe - first in his city vehicle, then later at his home.

Smathers responded to the city's claims in a written statement last September while the investigation was still ongoing and expressed his belief that the accusations were "clearly brought against me as retaliation for my whistleblowing activities."

Smathers filed a lawsuit against the city on October 8, following his termination, for lost pay and benefits, loss of career, humiliation, outrage and damage to his reputation.