FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
No Criminal Charges in March 2021 Police Shooting
SPOKANE COUNTY, June 29, 2021 – The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that Spokane County Deputy Sheriff Craig Cupo was justified in his use of lethal force against Lloyd A. Vaughn while Cupo conducted a prowl check on Vaughn’s property at 6521 E. Grouse Rd., Spokane County, WA. after dark on March 7, 2021.
At approximately 10:21 AM on March 7, 2021, Lloyd Vaughn’s wife, Heidi, contacted Crime Check and informed the call-taker of the discovery of items missing from their property at 6521 E. Grouse Rd. in Spokane County. In addition, Ms. Vaughn reported it appeared additional items had been staged for subsequent theft from the property. Though not requested by Ms. Vaughn, the call-taker advised Ms. Vaughn that a request for extra patrols would be included in the Crime Check report.
Ms. Vaughn acknowledged having heard the statement and, in a subsequent interview with the Washington State Patrol, jokingly advised Lloyd Vaughn that Crime Check had advised they would increase patrols in the area. Unbeknownst to Crime Check and the Sheriff’s office, the Vaughn’s later made a plan for Lloyd Vaughn to remain armed and at the property overnight on 3/7/21.
Shortly after dark, at approximately 7:05 PM that evening, Deputy Cupo self-dispatched himself to the property at 6521 E. Grouse Rd.
Prior to his arrival, Cupo familiarized himself with the details of the Crime Check report and noted that the property was reported to be abandoned. As Cupo pulled into the property, he illuminated it with the headlights and spotlight on his fully-marked County Sheriff’s patrol vehicle.
As Cupo proceeded up the driveway, he observed several vehicles that appeared to be disabled, a 30’x30’ metal-sided shop, and a decaying trailer that he could see through based on the level of deterioration. There were no lights anywhere on the property. These observations further convinced Cupo that the property was unoccupied.
Cupo decided to walk the property. He exited his vehicle with a flashlight in his left hand and loudly announced that he was with the “Sheriff’s office” and proceeded towards the shop. As he got closer, Cupo noticed that the man-sized door to the shop was slightly ajar. This caused Cupo to be concerned.
A very short time after Cupo announced, "Sheriff's Office", he saw the door to the shop fly open and immediately saw a black revolver with wood-like grips being thrust towards his face. Cupo immediately yelled "Sheriff's Office! Drop the gun!" as he backpedaled toward the corner of the structure. As he moved backward, Cupo drew his pistol and again loudly yelled "drop the gun!"
Cupo saw a white male adult (Lloyd Vaughn) with white hair, a beard, and an eye patch partially exit the doorway. Cupo continued to backpedal away, again announced "Sheriff's Office!" and saw Vaughn holding the revolver gripped in his right hand in a final firing position straight at Cupo. Vaughn said something inaudible to Cupo.
Cupo noticed a flash and heard a loud pop which indicated to him that Vaughn had fired a round at him. Cupo returned fire with his service weapon.
Shortly thereafter, Cupo heard Vaughn yell, "You shot me!" Cupo activated his radio and informed dispatch of his location and the fact that shots were fired. After verifying that Vaughn was no longer armed and that he was alone in the shed, Cupo brought Vaughn over to his patrol car to render medical aid until medics arrived and took over. Vaughn was transported to Sacred Heart where he was treated and eventually released.
Under these facts and circumstances, Deputy Cupo was justified in his use of deadly force. At the time of the application of deadly force, Deputy Cupo was being fired upon and had an objective good faith belief in the correctness of his actions and that he was acting pursuant to RCW 9A.16.040. Therefore, no criminal charges will be filed against Deputy Cupo in this matter.