Deputy who shot and killed man in Spokane Valley identified
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office identified Joseph Wallace as the deputy that shot and killed a homeless man in Spokane Valley on Saturday.
Wallace responded to an apartment complex in the 2800 block of North Cherry just before 6:00 p.m. for reports of disorderly man. The man, later identified as 25-year-old Ethan Austin Murray, appeared to be high on drugs and was running in between children who were playing near the apartment.
According to a release, Wallace, along with another SCSO deputy, tried to talk to Murray, but he ignored them and began running toward a wooded area.
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SCSO said Wallace reported that Murray was making threats and reached for something near his waistband. Witnesses said they heard Wallace repeatedly tell Murray to “put it down” before he fired his weapon. Authorities have not said how many shots were fired.
In a release sent Tuesday, SCSO said no weapon had been recovered from the scene, meaning Murray was possibly unarmed during the incident.
On Tuesday, Murray’s mother spoke with KXLY about her son. She said he struggled with mental illness; he was diagnosed with schizophrenia at 19 and also suffered from paranoia.
Justine Murray said her son had been in and out of care, and also struggled with drug addiction. She told KXLY she often dreamt of receiving a call about her son passing away, but never thought it would be at the hands of a police officer.
“I feel like we need more training for officers, and I know it’s lack of funding, and I know they feel awful about the situation and they don’t have choices, and they don’t know how to de-escalate, but we need to change,” she said.
Wallace joined the SCSO in January of 2015. He has been placed on leave, per protocol.
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