Officers in deadly shooting identified

Author: Rob Kauder, Internet Content Manager, robk@kxly.com
Published On: May 20 2013 02:38:10 PM PDT   Updated On: May 20 2013 05:50:28 PM PDT
Valdez Jensen and Lesser
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The trio of Spokane police officers involved in a deadly shooting last week, and identified by the department Monday afternoon, include two officers who have been involved in several deadly shootings with suspects in the last few years.

The three officers, identified by the department as Jake Jensen, Dan Lesser and Adam Valdez, responded to a residence in Nine Mile Falls while searching for Justin Cairns, 21, who was suspected in the fatal shooting of 33-year-old Cyrus Jones early last Thursday morning.

Court documents say that officers confronted Cairns, who failed to follow police orders, and officers opened fire on him. Cairns was hit at least one time in the head and died. Authorities recovered a pellet gun and a .380 semiautomatic pistol as evidence.

It's not known yet what prompted the officers to open fire on Cairns.

Police report the officers involved include officers Dan Lesser and Jake Jensen, who are both members of the SWAT and K-9 units, and Adam Valdez, who is a member of the TAC Team.

Lesser, the senior officer at the scene with 18 years on the force, has been involved in three previous shootings, all of which have been reviewed and cleared by the prosecutor's office. The department said he has also received several commendations for saving the lives of two individuals in 2008 and 2010, and his K-9 partner Var received a Purple Heart after being shot twice by a stolen vehicle suspect.

Jensen, like Lesser, received a commendation this year for his work with the K-9 unit, and was the recipient of the Medal of Merit in 2006 for his response to a house fire where a child was trapped inside the home. A 12 year veteran of the department, this is his first shooting incident.

Adam Valdez has been with the department for seven years and this is his second shooting incident this year. In February Valdez was with a group of four other officers responding to a South Hill neighborhood on reports of a man firing a gun into the air. A brief chase ended near the Huckleberry's market. When the suspect, Jacob Dorfman, got out of his car, after being boxed in by the officers, he began to point his gun at officers and Valdez fired his pistol, killing Dorfman.

The investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team, led by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. At the conclusion of their investigation their findings will be forwarded to the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office. The prosecutor will review the findings of the shooting to determine whether or not the officers were justified in shooting Cairns.