Suspect, Armed with Knife, Fails to Surrender or Follow Commands
Less-Lethal Bean Bags Aid in Arrest without Serious Injury
Spokane Valley Deputies used less-lethal bean bags to gain some compliance of a robbery suspect armed with a knife. The suspect, stopped from entering a busy store, continued to resist arrest as Deputies struggled to place him in handcuffs. He was charged and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Robbery 1st Degree, Harassment with a Weapon, and Resisting Arrest.
On May 23, 2021, just before 2:00 pm., Spokane Valley Deputies responded to Rite Aid, located at 12222 E. Sprague, for the report of a male armed with a knife who was threatening a store employee.
The caller stated the suspect, later identified as 46-year-old Christopher J. Sanchez, threatened the store manager with a knife before fleeing on foot.
Deputy Ortiz arrived in the store parking lot and observed two females pointing at a male (Sanchez) crossing Sprague, yelling, “That’s him!” Sanchez was the only person seen in the general area the witnesses were pointing.
Deputy Ortiz advised other responding Deputies that Sanchez was heading toward Value Village, which was open and busy.
Deputy Walton and Deputy Vicini arrived and contacted Sanchez in front of Value Village. Since the store was open with unsuspecting customers entering and leaving, the Deputies confronted Sanchez, identified themselves, and told Sanchez to stop. Deputy Woolard and Deputy Ortiz arrived seconds later to assist.
Sanchez, with a large knife clearly visible on his right hip and an unknown object in his hand, made the choice to ignore commands saying, “No! I didn’t do anything.” Attempts to de-escalate the tense situation were ineffective as Sanchez continued to be defiant, choosing to ignore commands.
Deputy Ortiz retrieved his less-lethal shotgun and loaded it with bean bag rounds as the other Deputies at the scene provided lethal cover. With the knowledge that Sanchez just committed an armed robbery, threatened employees of the store with a knife in his hand, and having grave concern for the safety of the public/employees if Sanchez was allowed to enter the busy store, Deputies knew Sanchez must be taken into custody.
Sanchez was informed he was under arrest. After several more commands were ignored, Deputy Ortiz fired one bean bag round, hitting Sanchez in the lower leg. Unfortunately, it had little to no effect or change in behavior. Sanchez continued to refuse to follow commands and keep his hand away from the knife. A second bean bag round was fired and hit Sanchez’s right leg. Sanchez refused to surrender or comply with commands as he staggered toward the front entrance of the store. Two additional bean bag rounds were used, striking Sanchez’s leg, causing him to fall to the ground.
The Deputies moved to secure Sanchez’s hands and ensure he wouldn’t be able to as the knife or any weapon, but he fought and resisted. During the struggle, a couple of distractionary strikes were used, allowing Deputies to overpower Sanchez and secure him in handcuffs.
Sanchez was provided medical attention until Spokane Valley Fire personnel arrived to assume care. He was transported to the hospital for additional evaluations and care before being booked into the Spokane County Jail.
Employees of Rite Aid confirmed Sanchez used a fixed blade knife which was out and used to destroy property of Rite Aid in the commission of a theft. They also stated they feared for their lives as Sanchez brandished the knife while making statements about ”snitches”.
Sanchez was charged with Robbery 1st Degree, Harassment with a Weapon, both felonies, and Resisting Arrest, a misdemeanor.
Thankfully, no uninvolved citizens or Deputies were injured during this incident.