SPD officers justified in deadly November shooting of Spokane man
No criminal charges will be filed
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office determined that SPD officers David Stone and Brent Armstrong were justified in using deadly force while attempting to contact James C. Danforth in the 2900 block of E. Rowan just before 8 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2017.
Danforth, 59, was fatally shot after he fired a gunshot at Officers Stone and Armstrong through his jacket pocket.
Both officers responded together to Rowan that evening on the report of a Domestic Violence with a weapon call.
The 911 caller stated a friend (later identified as Danforth) who had been staying at the residence was intoxicated and refused to leave the property. She stated he was armed with a firearm and had threatened to shoot her in the head. The caller also stated Danforth broke into the home earlier in the day and fired his gun in the house that night.
As Officers Stone and Armstrong were in the process of responding to the call, the caller reported Danforth had left the home on foot. His physical description was relayed to the officers over the radio.
Officers Stone and Armstrong interviewed the 911 caller and her 33-year-old son, who was present at the time of the call. Both the woman and her son told the officers that they’d been threatened by Danforth with a firearm and he had fired multiple shots inside of the home. Responding officers noted multiple gunshot holes in the home’s ceiling and one at the top of the stairway. Additionally, empty shell casings were found on the floor.
Officers also observed a broken out window large enough for a man to crawl through.
A search of the area was conducted but Danforth was not located. Both victims feared Danforth would return with the gun. Officers Stone and Armstrong agreed to stay while she and her son gathered some things to go spend the night elsewhere. Officers Stone and Armstrong pulled their unmarked SPD patrol vehicle across the street from the home.
At approximately 7:50 p.m., Officers Stone and Armstrong observed a man matching Danforth’s description walking eastbound along the sidewalk toward the victim’s address. Danforth’s hand were inside his camouflage jacket pockets as he walked. Stone and Armstrong advised Danforth to show them his hands, which he didn’t comply with. Danforth continued with a few more steps to the east, turned, faced the officers, and fired a shot through his jacket pocket.
Both officers took positions of cover behind their patrol vehicle while Danforth continued to move in the direction of the house.
Out of fear for their own safety and the safety of the people inside of the house, Officers Stone and Armstrong elected to used deadly force to stop Danforth. He was struck by gunfire and fell to the ground, where the officers observed a firearm in his right hand. Additional officers and medics were called to the scene. Danforth was transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Based on the facts discovered in the investigation, the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has determined it was reasonable for Officers Stone and Armstrong to use deadly force on Danforth. He represented a serious and immediate threat to officers and persons inside the home, who he had already assaulted.
Therefore, no criminal liability attaches and no criminal charges will be filed.
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