Neighbors help apprehend murder suspect

STA stabbing suspect arrested following Peaceful Valley search

The man accused of stabbing someone in the Spokane Transit Authority Plaza Bus Saturday afternoon is behind bars and has been charged with first-degree murder. Donald T. Phillips was arrested in the Peaceful Valley neighborhood a couple hours after the incident.

“Somebody started coming through our trellis and it was dark and I couldn’t see very well,” said Chris Knapp, who apprehended the 40-year-old. “I announced myself thinking it was SWAT, had no response back, knew instantly it wasn’t them because they would have made themselves known.”

Phillips was wanted for murder for a stabbing at the STA Bus Plaza around 3 p.m. on Saturday. Multiple neighbors told Spokane Police that Phillips was seen in the Peaceful Valley area around 5:30 p.m.

“I started calling 9-1-1,” Councilmember Jon Snyder said. “He saw that I was on the phone and he said, ‘who are you calling, are you calling the police?’ I said ‘no, do you need me to call the police?’

Snyder lives in the Peaceful Valley neighborhood. He said a friend of his who works for STA gave him a heads up of the situation. Snyder said he was passing along the message to other neighbors via email when he spotted someone in the neighborhood matching the description.

“Literally the moment I shut my computer to send out the email, I see a gentleman come walking up that pathway,” Snyder said.

Snyder recalls the man disappearing after he confronted him. Other neighbors told police that Phillips had gone inside their home. Knapp found him in the alley between his home and his neighbor’s home. He told Phillips to go to the sidewalk.

“He started reaching into his pocket for something and I had a knife on me so I pulled my knife and backed him down to the bushes where I made him get on the ground and hollered for cops to come over and get him,” Knapp said.

Phillips was booked into the Spokane County Jail where he remains tonight. He has been charged with first-degree murder.

“I’m not a hero,” Knapp said. “I just protected my family and the people around me.”

The victim’s name has yet to be released, but police believe the incident wasn’t random.