Suspect that Fired at Law Enforcement During Pursuit found Deceased
Last night, multiple law enforcement agencies responded, and many resources were used to end an armed and dangerous suspect’s escape while working together to ensure the public's safety. The suspect bailed from the vehicle he was driving near 6th St. and Denver after pursuing officers momentarily lost sight of the car. The unoccupied vehicle was quickly located, and a perimeter was established.
The suspect was found dead at the base of a rock ledge southeast of Liberty Park. Initial information indicates he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but the cause of death cannot be confirmed until an autopsy is completed.
Even though law enforcement officers were fired upon by the suspect, no law enforcement officers/deputies fired back. Once the suspect was located by Air Support Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), several distraction devices were used as a SWAT contingent that moved toward the suspect who was not following commands. Seeing no reaction, team members moved forward and confirmed the suspect was deceased.
The following agencies and resources were involved or assisted at some point during this incident: Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Kalispel Tribal Police, Airway Heights Police, Spokane Regional Emergency Communications (SRECS), Washington State Patrol, Spokane Regional Department of Emergency Management, Spokane City Fire, Spokane Police Department, Spokane Valley Police and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
On April 12, 2021, at approximately 1:37 am., A Bureau of Indian Affairs Officer attempt to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation on Sprague just north of Northern Quest Casino. The driver of the car failed to stop as required by law and instead chose to flee.
Airway Heights Police and Kalispel Tribal Police responded to assist as the pursuit continued east on Hwy. 2, toward I-90. Near Flint Road, Officers advised SRECS Dispatchers, the suspect fired several shots at them from the fleeing vehicle. They also stated the suspect was attempting to run cars off the road.
Fearing for the public and law enforcement officers' safety due to the extremely dangerous and potentially deadly threat the suspect’s actions posed, multiple agencies and additional resources responded to assist.
The suspect turned his lights off as he traveled east on I-90 and took the Lincoln Street exit. Officers momentarily lost sight of the vehicle near 6th and Denver. Moments later, the unoccupied vehicle was found in the 600 block of S. Denver Street.
Multiple Officers/Deputies/Troopers flooded the area, established a perimeter, and began giving K9 announcements for the suspect to surrender and warn to the public to stay inside. Spokane Police and Spokane Valley K9 Units, along with Spokane Police & Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team members, Negotiation Teams, Spokane Regional Air Support Unit, responded to help locate this armed and dangerous suspect.
During a K9 track, Officers/Deputies reported the suspect again fired his weapon, believing the suspect fired at them. The Officers/Deputies immediately took cover, and none fired their weapons.
With a general direction/location of the suspect, Air Support Unit UAVs were launched, and the suspect was located, hiding near the base of a rock cliff southeast of Liberty Park. Air 2 arrived in the area and also provided information to ground units.
Three armored tactical rescue vehicles (2 Bearcats and Rescue 2) were deployed at the scene to provide cover for the Officers/Deputies. Negotiators and SWAT Team members attempted to contact the suspect and safely deescalate the intense situation. At the same time, patrol officers notified people in nearby homes that were very close to the potential danger. Some of the residents opted to evacuate with Officers' aid, while others decided to stay after being informed of the danger.
With no movement from the suspect observed, SWAT Team members and a K9 Unit moved closer, using the armored tactical rescue vehicle as cover, while continuing to try and open communications with the suspect.
With their unsuccessful attempts to contact the suspect, several distraction devices were deployed. Again, not observing any movement from the suspect, a K9 was deployed, but the suspect did not move. With all other options exhausted, SWAT Team members moved forward and contacted the suspect. The suspect had no pulse and appeared to have suffered a single gunshot wound. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Through a mutual aid request, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives were requested to lead the investigation, with Spokane County Sheriff’s Forensic personnel's assistance. Investigators did recover a firearm near the body of the deceased.
The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Officer will release the deceased's name at a later time and when appropriate.
Thankfully, no uninvolved citizens were injured during this highly fluid and dangerous situation. Additionally, none of the law enforcement personnel involved were injured, nor fired their weapons, only deploying less-lethal munitions in an attempt to open communications and determine if the suspect was responsive toward the end of the incident.
Anyone with information regarding this incident or what may have led up to it is asked to call Major Crimes Detective Marc Melville at 509-477-3325.