Suspect Tries to Deter Deputy by Igniting Spray from Aerosol Can
This morning, a male suspect produced an aerosol can, pointed it at a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant, and lit it on fire, creating an approximate two-foot flame. The suspect then fled on foot but was quickly apprehended and arrested. The Sergeant was attempting to contact the male who was reportedly prowling vehicles before threatening a security officer. The Sergeant was not injured during the incident.
On September 9, 2021, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the campus of Whitworth University for a vehicle prowler call.
A Whitworth Security Officer reported he attempted to contact an unknown male believed to be prowling vehicles. The male, later identified as 40-year-old Ace T. Harris, threatened to spray the Security Officer with bear spray and tried to light the spray on fire. The Security Officer deployed his pepper spray toward Harris and told him to leave the property and not return. He provided a description of Harris, who had already fled the area.
Several Deputies responded and quickly arrived to search for Harris.
Sergeant Mike McNees arrived on the west end of campus and noticed a male matching Harris’ description standing between two parked cars. As Sergeant McNees exited his patrol car, Harris immediately began to walk away. Sergeant McNees identified himself and told Harris to stop. Approximately 20’ away, Harris turned and raised an aerosol can in Sergeant McNees’ direction while spraying it. At the same time, he lit the spray, igniting an approximate 2’ flame, which he waved back and forth. With this apparent threat, Sergeant McNees stopped and requested immediate backup via his radio as Harris turned and ran away. Sergeant McNees told Harris he was under arrest and pursued. During the chase, Harris threw the spray can as he continued his attempt to escape. Sergeant McNees successfully deployed his Taser, and Harris was taken into custody.
Harris was provided medical treatment at the scene. He was advised of his rights, and he agreed to answer questions. He admitted to looking in a few cars on campus while looking for a friend who was coming to pick Harris up. He also admitted to lighting the spray from the aerosol can on fire, stating his intent was to have police shoot and kill him.
Harris was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Intimidating a Public Servant, Criminal Trespass 2nd Degree, and Obstructing. He was also booked on an unrelated Washington State Department of Corrections warrant.