Court docs: Man hit, choked young son before being shot by deputies

Kings Apartment Complex

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Multiple deputies shot an armed man on Sunday who they say was suspected of beating his girlfriend and child at a Spokane Valley apartment complex. 

Court documents are now giving insight to what happened that day. 

The sheriff’s office said deputies were first called to a domestic violence incident at a Spokane Valley apartment complex near Pines and Cataldo at 4:25 p.m. Sunday. A woman called 911 saying she and her child were being attacked by her boyfriend, who was intoxicated.

READ: Sheriff says man shot by deputies was abusing girlfriend, child 

Court documents show deputies arrived to find Lanz E. Zeppa armed with several firearms in the courtyard of the apartment complex. 

Deputies ordered Zeppa to drop the weapons multiple times before shooting him. He was taken to the hospital and treated for critical injuries and is in stable condition.  

According to court documents, the woman who called said Zeppa had been acting more aggressive toward her recently. The night before he was arrested, she told deputies Zeppa had struck her with a baby gate as she was trying to leave the room with their 2-year-old son. 

The woman said she’d come home to find Zeppa drunk on Sunday. 

She said Zeppa punched her in the head then grabbed her and their son’s shirt, pulling them both and choking their son. 

The woman told deputies Zeppa tried to punch her again, but struck their son instead. She told deputies she ran to the bathroom and held the door shut, at which point Zeppa plunged a knife through the door near where she was holding the handle. 

It wasn’t until she heard Zeppa go into another room that she said she took their son and ran out to her car in the parking lot. 

Police arrived shortly after and the woman said she heard them tell Zeppa to drop his weapons multiple times before shooting him. 

The Spokane Investigative Regional Response team is now investigating the incident. 

Court documents show investigators found a knife on the ground near Zeppa’s gun cabinet and are looking into whether it was the knife used to stab the door. 

Detectives also interviewed Zeppa’s neighbor who lives in the apartment across the hall. That man told investigators he’s heard Zeppa yell several times, usually when he appears to be drunk. 

He also told them he’s seen Zeppa leaving the apartment carrying several weapons, and stated Zeppa is “always drunk.” 

Investigators took blood from Zeppa to see if he was drunk at the time of the alleged assault, and are now awaiting results.

For anyone suffering through domestic violence, or wants to provide help to others who are, there are several resources available:

  • YWCA: (509) 326-1190
  • Lutheran Community Services: (509) 624-7273
  • Safe Passage: (208) 664-9303
  • Idaho Legal Aid Services: 1-800-500-2980 or 667-9559 in the Coeur d’Alene area