‘Out of hand’: Community on high alert after a robbery call turns deadly

SPOKANE, Wash. — One man is dead after an early morning robbery ended in a shootout. The community is on high alert after yet another shooting.

Spokane Police say it started as a robbery call involving several people. Two are in jail. Police say they shot and killed the third. SPD says it started in Spokane Valley around 1 a.m. when they were called to Oxford Suites for reports of a robbery.

They tracked the van to downtown Spokane, near Hatch and 3rd. Two suspects fled on foot. The other drove his van into a building and barricaded himself inside for hours.

“It’s just getting out of hand,” said James Lampe. He was out delivering newspapers when police quickly stopped him during his route because of the standoff.

Lampe saw the chaos unfold, and stopped dead in his tracks.

“All of a sudden, I get over to Dicks and just everything is just covered with police,” he said.

Police blocked off several streets as they negotiated with a man holed up in his van for almost five hours.

“He continued to also make profane gestures towards the officers while the officers tried to continue to deescalate and get the subject to come out of the vehicle,” said Criag Meidl, police chief, with the Spokane Police Department.

Investigators say an officer was shot during the hours-long standoff but they say he wasn’t seriously hurt. When the man eventually did come out of the van, police say he still wouldn’t listen so they were forced to fire.

“There was a lot of effort put in to try to get him to comply and come out of the vehicle without his firearm,” Meidl said. “Sadly, he did not.”

Lampe is used to seeing law enforcement during his regular route, but this was different.

“It was pretty shocking,” Lampe said. “I’m used to police downtown all the time because there’s a lot of bars that I deliver around, but this is the first time I was like — ok there’s something going on.”

Washington State Patrol will take over the investigation and say body cam footage is being reviewed right now. Investigators need to piece together what exactly unfolded, starting with a robbery call and ending in a death.

“It’s pretty scary that it’s becoming more frequent,” Lampe concluded.

This is the second time in just a few weeks a police officer was shot at.

RELATED: Spokane Police: Man involved shooting, standoff in downtown Spokane is dead