Creach Case Has Personal Edge For Prosecutor
For Spokane Prosecutor Steve Tucker, sifting through the 720-page Creach shooting report is more than just examining another case. The shooting happened within a few blocks of where he grew up, at a business he?s bought plants at, a neighborhood where his mom still lives.
Walking into Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker?s office Friday morning one cannot help but notice the immense volume sitting on his desk, inside everything from interview reports to investigators notes on the fatal shooting of Scott Creach by Spokane County Deputy Brian Hirzel at the Plant Farm on August 25.
Tucker said Friday morning, during his first media interview since receiving the report, that he was going to begin looking through the documents sent over by the Spokane Police Department and then turn them over to Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll next Tuesday for him to review. Driscoll will make a recommendation based on his read on the report and then Tucker, along with several other attorneys in his office, will go through it again before Tucker decides on any charging recommendation.
The prosecutor emphasized he intends to have multiple attorneys poring through the report with him. He knows all too well about the public outcry and the high-profile carried with this shooting.
?Of course, this was a pastor; that’s stressed over and over in the press. It’s pretty rare for someone like that to be involved in a shooting incident. It’s peculiar that way,? Tucker said.
There are a few holes in the report that need to be filled before he can make his final determination on the case. Both Tucker and Jack Driscoll have questions about the case, and Tucker said if those questions don?t get answered in the police department report he?ll be asking investigators to go back out on the streets and get answers to those questions.
?I’ll be looking at what kind of homicide this is. It’ll probably be a homicide in the medical examiner’s report, which we don’t have yet. So, I need to get that, I need to get the ballistic test from the police department ? this isn’t a complete report ? there will be some more coming in to help me make the decision,? Tucker said.
Making that decision does carry with it the burden of answering a lot of questions and making a final determination as to whether or not Deputy Brian Hirzel made the right call in the heat of the moment. In that respect, Tucker understands the pressure Hirzel might have felt in the heat of the moment from his own personal experience as a Washington State Trooper.
?Every time I had the gun out, and I had it out probably six times with some pressure on the trigger, I was hoping they’d do what I said ?cause the gun was wiggling around pretty severely, too, ?cause I was pretty nervous. The heart gets pumping, you get excited, and say put your hands up. I had two with the gun but they dropped it. I just never had to shoot anybody,? he said.
Tucker?s personal experience in law enforcement isn?t the only way he identifies with the case, however.
?The other thing about this case ? it’s only about two or three blocks from where I grew up. I bought plants at that place, road bicycles out there as a kid. My mom still lives out there, so she’s real concerned about this one, she called me a couple nights ago to ask how I was doing,? he said.
?It’s a tragedy to think somebody’s dead in my neighborhood.?
As he?s getting ready to read through the case files, Tucker?s already made it clear through the police department that he wants to reach out to Scott Creach?s family, to answer whatever questions or concerns they have about the process.
?I’ll be in communication with the family. I’ve directed Spokane Police to let them know that if they have questions, after they’ve looked through it and I’ve went through it enough to answer questions, they’re free to get a hold of me and ask me questions, I’ll try to answer them.?
With November on the horizon, and the potential for this case becoming a political football being raised by one contender for Tucker?s position, the prosecutor isn?t letting the distractions take his attention away from the task at hand: Determine what happened at the Plant Farm on the night of August 25 and determine what charges, if any, Deputy Brian Hirzel should face.
?It’s my job as the elected [official] to make these kind of decisions. Anybody who says you should get somebody to do this, that’s passing the buck. And, that’s why I’m here, that’s why I was elected; to pass it on to another county’s prosecutor or a special prosecutor is not feasible at this time.?
To the public, as well as the family of Scott Creach, Tucker said that his job was to take as much time as necessary to reach a decision on the matter, which when announced will come with a complete analysis for his conclusions.
?I’m going to be very careful with this, I’m going to have several eyes take a look at it and when I make a determination, I will give the exact reasons and we’ll go from there.?
KXLY4’s Melissa Luck contributed to this report
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