Man shot during motel fire told other guests to “get out”

Man shot during motel fire told other guests to “get out”

A man was shot at a Spokane Valley motel Wednesday morning, after he started a fire in his room and threatened Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies with a knife.

The fire started at about 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, at the Motel 6 on the 1919 N. Hutchinson. Guests like April Holten were evacuated quickly.

It wasn’t until her mother yelled to wake her up, that Holten heard the fire alarms.

“‘Get up, get out, the hotel is on fire’ and then heard the alarm and this guy was yelling in the hallway,” Holten said.

She thought it might have been a drill, until she opened the door.

“Just started pouring in just black, black smoke,” she said.

The smoke was coming from the room right across from hers. The man staying inside was standing in his doorway with a warning for April and her mother.

“[He] just kept yelling at us ‘you better get out, you better get out, cause you’re going to die’ and so we did, we just got out,” Holten said.

They rushed out so quickly, several of their pets were left behind.

“Three cats, and no real indication of when we can get back in and get them and check on them,” Holten said.

When Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies responded to assist fire crews on scene, the man, who has not been identified, refused to cooperate.

“He barricaded himself in a room and would not come out. [He] told the deputies that they would have to shoot him,” said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

Deputies say the man charged at them with his knife, and he was shot. He was taken to a local hospital for surgery, but his condition is unclear. Sheriff Knezovich also said today that the man’s refusal to cooperate interfered with fire crews’ ability to fight the flames.

Holten says she didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until she found out the man had a knife.

“We had to run right past him, and it wasn’t until afterward that we realized we were lucky to even get out the door considering he was right there and he was armed. Like, he had the full ability to just take us with him,” she said.

Deputies say they’re still looking for any information available. To report, call Crime Check at (509)-456-2233.