K9 deployed after traffic stop turns tense

K9 deployed after traffic stop turns tense

A traffic stop in Cheney turned tense for Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies after an uncooperative passenger with a loaded gun wouldn’t follow officer commands, leading to his arrest.

On Sunday, Jan. 14 at 8:45 p.m., Deputy Krystal Blitzer initiated a traffic stop on a red Chevy Cavalier that failed to signal when it turned south on S. Thomas Mallen Rd. from W. 57th Ave.

As Deputy Blitzer approached the vehicle, she noticed a temporary license in the back window that appear to be altered by a black marker. She contacted the driver and passenger in the car – 43-year-old Tina M. McCrea and 31-year-old Michael C. Painter, respectively.

McCrea failed to provide the vehicle’s registration or any auto insurance. She told Deputy Blitzer that the she bought the vehicle two weeks earlier but didn’t have a bill of sale or any documents. A check of her name revealed McCrea’s license was suspended. Deputy Blitzer noticed her passenger, Painter, reaching around in the vehicle. During the second contact McCrea admitted that she knew her license was suspended.

Deputy Blitzer waited at her vehicle for additional units to arrive and assist with the stop.

McCrea was arrested for driving while suspended. When Deputy Veronica Van Patten arrived to the scene, she approached the vehicle and observed Painter. Painter noticed Deputy Van Patten watching him and began to reach around the floorboard of the car. Knowing it’s common for weapons to be hidden and under seats, Deputy Van Patten told Painter to stop reaching and keep his hands visible. Painter, who was sweating heavily, placed his trembly hands in his lap, but then began locking the doors of the still running vehicle and began to make phone calls.

While failing to follow commands, deputies observed a tattoo on Painter and confirmed that he was known to carry weapons and had an active felony Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) warrant for his arrest, in addition to a U.S. Marshal’s Hold.

Deputies also learned there was a bat next to the driver’s seat and McCrea told them to be “very careful” when dealing with Painter.

Even when told he was under arrest, Painter continued to fail to follow commands. He claimed he was calling his attorney but with the erratic behavior, deputies weren’t sure if he was armed or making calls in attempt to get people to respond to the scene and aid in his escape.

After several unsuccessful attempts to surrender, Deputy Andrew Richmond deployed less-lethal munitions to break the back-driver’s window. Deputy Clay Hilton sent K9 Bane, who was wearing a ballistic vest, to enter the vehicle. The vest hit the top of the window frame stopping K9 Bane’s momentum and preventing him from entering the vehicle. As K9 Bane attempted another leap into the vehicle, Painter exited the vehicle and surrendered.

As Deputy Schmidt and Deputy Humphrey took Painter into custody, Deputy Schmidt felt a handgun concealed inside of Painter’s pants. Although handcuffed, Painter grabbed for the gun but could only grab Deputy Schmidt’s han instead. He was pinned against the hood of the patrol car while other deputies safely removed the gun. The gun, a Glock-22, .40 caliber, had a fully loaded magazine and one round in the chamber.

A bag containing a white crystaline substance and a small glass pipe was also found on Painter. The substance showed a presumptive positive result for methamphetamine.

Painter was booked into the Spokane County Jail for his DOC warrants and the U.S. Marshal’s Hold.

Additional charges are expected as the investigation continues.

Update (1/16/18 5:18 p.m.): The Spokane Regional Safe Streets Task Force Investigators obtained and executed a search warrant for the Chevy Cavalier. During the search a second loaded handgun and several ounces of methamphetamine were found in the passenger compartment where Painter was seated. A check of the Hi-Point 9mm pistol revealed it was reported as stolen.