Man pleads guilty to murdering local athlete outside downtown Spokane bar

SPOKANE, Wash. — Michael Le has pleaded guilty to the murder of 22-year-old Jakobe Ford.

Ford was shot and killed outside of Lucky’s Bar in downtown Spokane in August 2021. He was a local athlete who shattered records at Shadle Park High School and was launching a professional track career when he was murdered.

Court records showed Ford was dating Le’s ex-girlfriend at the time of the shooting. She had a child with Le.

Jakobe Ford Hoopfest 2019

Witnesses told police that there had been problems between the two men before the shooting, including physical altercations. One witness said Le showed up at the bar that night, took photos of Ford and then the two went outside to fight.

Le reportedly pulled out a gun, fired four shots and ran from the area.

Police caught up to him in a car a few blocks away, then retraced his steps to find a gun. Le was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm at the time of the shooting. Court records show he had been ordered to turn in his firearms after a separate altercation with Ford and his girlfriend.

At that time, Ford, his girlfriend and her baby were leaving an apartment complex when Le blocked their car with his. Court records show Le threatened them with a gun and was arrested for second-degree assault and harassment. He was later released on his own recognizance.

Le was originally charged with second-degree murder in Ford’s death. Those charges were upped to first-degree murder and Le has been held in the Spokane County jail for nearly a year. He was also charged with 2nd degree unlawful possession of a firearm and criminal mischief.

Le will be sentenced at a later time.

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