A Vehicle with Robbery Suspect Located by Air-2 - Deputies Arrest Uncooperative Suspect, Find Flare Gun
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Air-2 located a vehicle as it left the scene of a reported robbery. Air-2 guided Deputies to the vehicle’s location as the unsuspecting occupants continued to drive through traffic. Deputies stopped the vehicle and arrested the passenger, who was not cooperative, for multiple felony and misdemeanor charges along with three active warrants. The driver, found not to be involved in the robbery, was arrested but later released at the scene after he was issued a criminal citation for possession of a dangerous weapon.
Clips of Air-2 video show multiple patrol cars and Deputies as they conduct a high-risk traffic stop.
Full video is not available due to technical difficulties.
On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at approximately 9:20 p.m., Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a reported robbery at the Wal-Mart located at 5025 E. Sprague in Spokane Valley.
A loss prevention employee reported a suspect, later identified as 28-year-old Benjamin G. Lassey, entered the store and attempted to steal merchandise. The employee recognized Lassey from prior contacts and knew he had been trespassed from Wal-Mart. He contacted Lassey and identified himself as loss prevention when Lassey tried to leave the store without paying for the items. Lassey pulled away and kicked the employee before fleeing into the parking lot.
The victim continued to watch as Lassey got into a black 4-door sedan with dark tinted window. The employee provided a description of the vehicle and its direction of travel.
Air-2, already flying over the area and monitoring the call, located the vehicle and provided real-time location information to the responding Deputies.
Not knowing if the occupants were armed, Deputies conducted a high-risk traffic stop of the vehicle near the intersection of Thor and Freya. The driver, later identified as 38-year-old Kyle A. Kirk, was cooperative and followed commands. During a search for weapons, Deputy Lundgren located a switchblade knife in Kirk’s front pants pocket. Kirk was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car as attention turned to the passenger, Lassey.
Lassey did not follow commands and continued to reach around inside the vehicle. Deputies could not see what he was actually doing due to the vehicle’s dark tinted window. Deputies did not know if Lassey was armed, trying to access a weapon or attempting to hide evidence. With Lassey’s continued choice not to follow commands, a shotgun loaded with less-lethal ammunition was deployed to remove one of the heavily tinted windows to gain an unobstructed view of Lassey. Soon after, Lassey began to comply and was safely taken into custody.
Deputies learned there were valid warrants for Lassey’s arrest. During a subsequent search, Deputy Thomas located a loaded flare gun in Lassey’s jacket. The flare gun, usually orange, had been painted black making where it could have been easily mistaken as a real firearm. A baggie containing a black tar-like substance consistent with Heroin was also located. A field test of the substance showed a presumptive positive result.
Kirk was advised of his rights and agreed to answer questions. He explained he gave Lassey a ride to Wal-Mart at his request. He waited in the car as Lassey went into the store and had no idea of what happened inside.
Lassey agreed to answer questions after he was advised of his rights. Lassey told Deputies he knew he wasn’t allowed in Wal-Mart because he was previously trespassed, but he wanted to get some audio equipment. He didn’t recall if he kicked the store employee but did not deny a struggled occurred. Lassey confirmed Kirk was only giving him a ride and knew nothing about what happened inside.
Lassey was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Burglary 1st Degree, Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Heroin, Possession of a Dangerous Weapon and Obstructing in addition to his warrants (Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Theft 3rd Degree, Criminal Trespass 2nd Degree).
Kirk was issued a criminal citation for Possession of a Dangerous Weapon and released at the scene.