Local News

Spokane Police shoot suicidal man armed with knife

SPOKANE, Wash. - Police shot a man with a knife in his hand in North Spokane Sunday night and the incident was all caught on cell phone video.

A family who lives on East Dalton near Gonzaga Prep shot that video as a veteran officer tried to get a suicidal man, who was armed with a knife, to surrender.

Neighbors say police did everything they could to avoid using deadly force.

On Sunday afternoon people rushed to get their kids inside and were shocked to see a shirtless man arguing with police and stabbing himself.

At first it was just one police lieutenant trying to disarm and deescalate a guy who had just bailed out of his car after a short pursuit with Northside Officers.

“Just before the individual was stopped, one of the officers had gotten on the radio and said he was going after or chasing a neighbor with the knife as well,” said Chief Craig Meidl, Spokane Police Department.

And that's when witness Bo Johnson started to warn his neighbors they needed to go inside their homes.

“He was screaming, 'I'm not going back to prison, you're taking me today, kill me, kill me,'” said Johnson.

As the man, reportedly with a knife in his hand, advanced toward the officer, the lieutenant backed up.

A second unit arrived and the man ran towards Perry.

Arriving officers surrounded the man as he reached Perry and tried to use a taser to disarm him.

“And he reached around and pulled the tasers out and came at them and tried to stab them with the knife and they had no choice,” said Johnson.

Witnesses say officers opened fire as the man lunged at them with a knife over his head.

In the video it appears they are no more than a dozen feet apart.

“All I know is they protected my neighborhood and my family and they got somebody off the street who needed to be off the street and they did everything in their power not to shoot this man and he gave them no options.”

There is body cam video of this incident and so that should give investigators a much closer look at those last few seconds before the shots were fired.

Prior to the shooting, this man was being treated at Holy Family Hospital.

He still had those sticky pads from EKG's on his chest when he was taken to the emergency room.