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Press Release from the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team (S.I.R.R.)

Posted 6/13/2013 2:30 PM by MDGREGORY

55th & Regal Investigation Update

Detectives continue to investigate the altercation that led to the death of William Berger, that occurred June 6, 2013 in the area of 55th and Regal. Detectives are still working to interview all the witnesses that observed the incident, and have obtained two search warrants relating to this investigation.

Two Spokane County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) deputies responded to the incident after receiving calls of Berger being disorderly at the OZ Fitness at 5501 S Regal. The first deputy arrived and contacted Berger in the middle of the street. Berger began striking the deputy’s vehicle. The deputy attempted to calm Berger but Berger took a fighting stance. The deputy deployed his taser, causing Berger to fall to the ground. Berger then stood up, removed the taser probes and wire. Berger then ran a short distance when he observed another SCSO deputy arriving.

Both deputies engaged Berger at which point Berger continued to be confrontational with the deputies. Berger was tased two more times and fell to the ground. The taser effect was not long lasting and Berger continued to fight. A deputy was able to place Berger in a lateral vascular neck restraint (LVNR) but Berger pulled the deputy’s arm away as they fought. During the fight Berger got control of one of the tasers and attempted to use it against one of the deputies. As the struggle continued the deputy was able to regain control of Berger applying the LVNR. Berger stopped resisting, at which time deputies noticed that he had stopped breathing. EMS personnel were already on scene, and with the assistance of the deputies, Berger was revived and transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center. Berger was pronounced dead the next morning.

The two SCSO deputies sustained several cuts and bruises from the altercation. Both deputies were treated and released.

The Spokane Investigative Regional Response team continues to investigate all aspects of this case. Detectives will continue to interview witnesses and gather evidence from all parties involved. Anyone who has information is asked to call the Washington State Patrol at 509 227-6640.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office requested this incident be investigated by the Spokane Investigative Regional Response team which is comprised of detectives from the Spokane Police Department, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol. The Washington State Patrol is the managing agency for this investigation.