Hero who helped capture killer denied reward

Author: Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: Oct 31 2013 05:07:15 PM PDT   Updated On: Oct 31 2013 06:34:56 PM PDT
Josh Gahl
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Josh Gahl acted swiftly when he saw an assault in progress, calling 911 and steering police in to capture now convicted killer Avondre Graham. However Crimestoppers of the Inland Northwest, which offered $1,000 for the arrest of the suspect in Sharlotte McGill's killing, has refused to pay him.

Why? Because he called 911, and not Crimestoppers.

Sharlotte McGill was killed in May 2012 but it wasn't until four months later, when they received a call from Gahl, who was witnessing an assault along the Spokane River, that they were able to arrest Graham, who pleaded guilty to McGill's murder Thursday and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Gahl heard a woman screaming for help on September 13, 2012. He ran to the sound of the woman's screams and found her with blood coming down her face. Gahl called 911 immediately and began chasing the man, who was later identified as Graham. Gahl didn't know it at the time but he was closing in on a killer.

"I didn't know if he had a gun or a knife so I just tackled him and he flew into the river," Gahl recalled.

By the time Graham reached the other bank police were waiting for him. Gahl's actions helped police nab Graham, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday for McGill's murder.

But he never received the $1,000 reward offered by Crimestoppers because he called 911, to report the assault in progress and the pursuit of the suspect, and not Crimestoppers.

"[They] said 'Oh the CEO didn't get a hold of you?' I said no. They said, 'Well the reward isn't available to you because you called 911 instead of Crimestoppers,'" he said Thursday.

By calling 911 Gahl did catch a killer but didn't satisfy Crimestopper requirements for the reward for the capture of the killer.

Gahl said he was OK with the technicality and not getting the reward because it's not why he chased down Graham in the first place.

"Not at all, not at all. I'm doing fine without it," he said.

While he may be fine with it, dozens of fans on the KXLY 4 News Facebook page were outraged at the technicality and that Crimestoppers had not given Gahl the reward.