‘God’s got your back’: Father of man shot on lower South Hill says he confronted the shooter about slashing tires

SPOKANE, Wash.– Spokane Police say what started as a confrontation over tire slashing led to a man being shot in the face.

Officers say Gary Cottrill was walking his dog Wednesday on the lower South Hill when he shot another man.

Nicholas Gamber, who lives next to the man who was shot, says he caught Cottrill on video walking his dog and slashing tires.  Gamber says he confronted Cottrill about the situation on Tuesday.

“I sat here and saw you stab that man’s tires, and I said ‘you did that car too.’ And I said ‘you did the tires on that car too,’ and he cussed me out, a couple words,” he said.

Gamber says Cottrill reached in his pocket so he backed off. He claims Cottrill has slashed about 30 tires within a two-week period.

Neighbors say Cottrill was walking his dog down the street again on Wednesday. This time Micheal Jerko, the victim’s father, confronted him. Jerko says he also saw Cottrill on his surveillance camera slashing tires.

Jerko says he told Cottrill it wasn’t a good idea to walk through the neighborhood because he and others knew he was the one slashing tires.

“We started to proceed down the block here we were exchanging words. And then the neighbors all came out because they could hear the commotion going on and my son had come down the stairs. My son and I were standing right there in front of his car–there’s still blood out there,” Jerko said.

That’s when Jerko says Cottrill was in the middle of the street and pulled something out from his pocket and pointed at his son, Scott.

“I had him in my hands and I told him, ‘Scott you’re going to make it through. God’s got your back. You’re going to be okay.’ And he just looked at me, he couldn’t even talk because his mouth was so full with blood,” Jerko said.

The bullet entered Jerko’s cheek and lodged next to his spinal cord. He was taken to the hospital and is on a ventilator.

“This is crazy. This has got to stop. I mean we are all in this together, and I fear for women and children out here and even the older people. It has to stop I mean this is just insane,” Jerko said.

According to court documents, Cottrill denied to police that he slashed any tires. He also said that he was confronted by one of the men the day before the incident.

Cottrill says that he was confronted by two “meth heads” one of which threatened him with a gun on Wednesday. Cottrill claims he pulled out his pistol and told the man with the club to get back, but the man got closer, and that’s when he pulled the trigger.

Cottrill claims that he was kicked in the chest and knocked to the ground and that’s when he decided to arm himself. Officers say they didn’t find any evidence of injury.

A judge set Cottrill’s bond at $50,000. He has an arraignment on Feb 1.

RELATED: Court records: Man shot in the face had approached suspect over slashed tires

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