Male Stabs Young Child, Violently Assaults 3 Adults and Slashes Small Dog
Suspect in a Stolen Car Arrested after a Pursuit
Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of a male stabbing people inside a residence. The suspect had been staying at the home when he suddenly, and without warning, armed himself with a large knife. During the extremely violent assault, the suspect attempted to slice one victim’s throat, stabbed/cut another victim who tried to stop the suspect, injured an adult female, and stabbed a 4-year-old child. The suspect also sliced a small dog’s back before fleeing the home in a stolen vehicle from one of the victims.
The suspect and vehicle information was broadcast to all surrounding agencies, including agencies in North Idaho.
Soon after, the suspect unsuccessfully attempted to steal another vehicle. Deputies located the suspect, still driving the stolen car. Two PIT maneuvers and spike strips were used to end the pursuit. The suspect, who remained uncooperative during this time, was eventually arrested after a short foot pursuit. During the time prior to his arrest, less-lethal beanbag rounds were used in an attempt to get the suspect to comply, but they were unsuccessful.
On October 18, 2020, at approximately 10:05 am., Spokane Valley Deputies, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies, and a Liberty Lake Police Officer responded to the 3500 block of N. Velox for the report of a male, armed with a large knife, stabbing people inside the residence.
The suspect, identified as 43-year-old James D. Neill, had been staying at the home off and on. The callers stated several people had been stabbed, including a 4-year-old child.
Just before Deputies arrived on scene, Neill stole one of the victim’s cars, a white 2001 Ford Taurus. Neill’s information and the stolen vehicle’s license plate/description were broadcast to all surrounding law enforcement agencies, including agencies in Kootenai County.
Arriving Deputies secured the scene, allowing Spokane Valley Fire and AMR personnel to enter and provide medical treatment.
Initial information from the victim’s indicated Neill had been staying at the residence on occasion. He had reportedly been using methamphetamine and hadn’t been sleeping. He was seated at the table, reading a bible just before this violent assault.
Neill suddenly and without warning got up, armed himself with a large “butcher” type knife, and walked up behind the V1-first adult male (60s) victim. From behind, Neill ran the blade across the front of the victim’s throat. Apparently, Neill held the dull side of the knife toward the victim’s throat because he was not cut except for a smaller nick, possibly caused by the point of the blade as it slid off the victim’s throat. The victim believed Neill tried to kill him and said Neill didn’t say anything during the assault.
The victim broke free and ran out of the back door as he yelled for help to warn the others inside.
The V2-second adult male victim (40s) exited a bedroom hearing the commotion. He contacted Neill in the hallway. Neill was swinging the knife around and making stabbing motions. He tried to disarm Neill but had his arm slashed in the altercation. Believing Neill was on a mission to kill people, V2 exited the residence and armed himself with a crowbar. He went to the bedroom window where he knew the adult female victim (50s) and the child were located. He tried to get the window open to allow them to escape; however, he found Neill was already attempting to break into the bedroom door as the female victim strained to keep the door closed. He re-entered the home to try and stop Neill, but Neill had broken the door down, injuring the female victim, and entered the bedroom.
Neill stabbed the child in the upper torso as the female victim pleaded for Neill to stop. V2 entered the room and hit Neill several times with the crowbar, with one strike possibly breaking the knife. Neill eventually gained possession of the crowbar and fled the residence in a stolen (V1) car.
At some point during this violent act, it was discovered Neill slashed the back of a small dog. Spokane Regional Animal Protection Service was advised, and medical attention was provided.
At approximately 10:20 am., an unrelated victim living in the 5500 block of N. Best called 9-1-1, reporting a male just tried to steal her Honda CRV, but he was unsuccessful. The Honda had been started, using remote start, the keys were not in the ignition, and the car doors were locked. The male and the vehicle he arrived in matched Neill's description and the stolen vehicle he was driving.
At approximately 10:35 am., Deputy Maier observed Neill still driving the stolen car northbound on Bruce Rd. south of Peone. He activated his emergency equipment to stop Neill, but Neill did not pull over.
With Deputy Turner now assisting in the ensuing pursuit, Deputy Maier conducted a PIT maneuver to safely end the pursuit. The technique was successful, with the vehicle coming to a stop at Bruce and Day Mount Spokane Road.
The Deputies positioned their patrol vehicles in an attempt to block any escape routes. Neill put his hands up but failed to follow any additional commands. Fearing Neill could attempt to flee and endanger the public again, Deputy Turner used less-lethal beanbag rounds to breach the side windows and gain Neill’s compliance afterward. The less-lethal rounds had little to no effect, and Neill drove away.
With additional patrol units arriving in the area and Deputy Maier and Deputy Turner in pursuit, spike strips were deployed near Howe Rd. but Neill continued his attempt to escape. With Neill’s violent assaults and his continued desire to run, a second PIT was conducted as they approached Hwy. 2. The Taurus spun, went into the ditch on the side of the road, and rolled onto its top.
Deputies immediately began giving commands, which Neill ignored. He broke out a window, exited, and fled on foot as Deputies yelled, ordering him to stop, advising he was under arrest. With Deputies giving chase, Deputy Turner again fired less-lethal beanbag rounds, striking Neill twice with initially little effect. A short time later, Neill finally went to the ground and surrendered. He was taken into custody without further incident.
Neill was provided medical attention and cleared prior to being transported to the Public Safety Building to be interviewed by Major Crimes Detectives, who had been requested to continue the investigation.
Detective Melville requested and was granted a search warrant for the residence. With the assistance of Spokane County Sheriff’s Forensic’ s Unit Technicians, the broken knife used during this violent assault was recovered along with multiple additional items of evidence.
The stolen car was seized pending a search warrant.
After the interview, Neill was again provided additional medical treatment and cleared before being booked into the Spokane County Jail for Assault of a Child 1st Degree, Assault 1st Degree, Assault 2nd Degree (2 counts), Animal Cruelty 1st Degree, Theft of a Motor Vehicle (DV), Attempted Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle and Resisting Arrest.
The other adult victims involved in the incident did not require hospitalization. All, including the dog, are expected to recover from their injuries.
This remains an active and ongoing investigation. Additional charges or a change in charges is possible.