Friends not surprised eviction ended in gunfire

People who knew the man shot by Spokane police say they aren’t surprised an eviction attempt by law enforcement ended in gunfire.

That man was shot when a Spokane police officer and a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy were attempting to serve an eviction notice for a man at an apartment building near Regal and Sanson in Hillyard.

Spokane Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says when law enforcement entered the man’s apartment, he was sitting on the couch and began reaching for something under a blanket. Knezovich says he did not listen to repeated commands to stop. The deputy and officer then saw what appeared to be the butt of a rifle, and when the man kept reaching, they fired.

That man was taken to the hospital and was last known to be in surgery, but alive.

Several tenants in the apartment complex said they are not surprised that this is how the eviction ended. Two witnesses said when police arrived, they knew the man would not leave the building peacefully.

They said the man who was shot is known for harassing other tenants. When he received his eviction notice a month ago, they said he did not react well, and even vandalized part of the building.

One of the witnesses, who did not want to be identified, said he used to be friends with the man. He said he believes the man is schizophrenic.

“He had multiple personalities like Jesus and the Antichrist and King Solomon, some Nazi guy, Buddha,” he said.

He said he decided to end the friendship when the two went to a gun show together.

“We went to a gun show about two years ago, and he bought a bunch of ammunition and that’s where I cut it off because I was not about to have any part of it,” he said.

When police arrived to evict the man, he said he knew what the outcome would be.

“I totally expected it to go down that way. I mean, I already knew he had the rifle, so I already knew it was going down that way whether the sheriff was there or not,” he said.

It’s still not clear exactly how many shots were fired and who shot their gun. Witnesses said they heard multiple gunshots.

“Rapid succession. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. 10, 15 rounds,” said Robert Smith who was standing outside the building when the shooting happened.

Both officers were wearing body cameras when the shooting happened. They will paint a clearer picture of what happened Monday morning.