We understand this is lengthy, but it clearly illustrates how treatment, in and of itself, does not always work. It also shows how a criminal charge, even a misdemeanor, can aid in making sure a person in need of help gets an opportunity to receive it before they can be released.
Male in Crisis and a Danger to Himself and Others, Provided Medical Treatment but Released Soon After, Recontacted Again as a Disorderly Male
Spokane Valley and Spokane County Deputies responded to a disorderly male in crisis, whose actions were clearly a danger to himself and others early Thursday morning. He was taken into custody after a short struggle and brought to a medical center for much-needed treatment and was not criminally charged. Hours later, Deputies again responded to a call regarding a disorderly male running through a hotel, banging on doors, yelling for people to call 911. After running from Deputies and activating the hotel’s fire alarm, he was taken into custody. Deputies determined this was the same male taken into custody earlier and brought to a medical center. Further investigation found the man was discharged from the medical center and ran from family members once outside. The male, clearly in crisis and a danger to himself and others, was booked into the Spokane County Jail for a misdemeanor charge of Tampering with a Fire Alarm and mental health paperwork was completed, ensuring a mental health professional would contact him.
Although charged with a misdemeanor crime, we are not releasing the man’s name for his privacy.
On September 21, 2023, at approximately 1:40 am, Spokane Valley and Spokane County Deputies responded to the report of a male claiming someone was messing with his residence. A family member of the man got on the phone advising the male was “freaking out” and was now going east on Mansfield toward Pines. The family member said he believed the man, only wearing shorts, was high/impaired and confirmed nothing suspicious was occurring at the residence.
At approximately 1:45 am, multiple callers reported a male (determined to be the same person) was at a business in the 2100 block of N. Pines Road, yelling about someone killing people. The male was last seen running toward I-90.
A few minutes later, a caller reported the male was in a grassy area on Pines, near Indiana. A second caller, an employee of a business in the area, said the male ran through the front door and out the back door of the business. He was last seen running south on Pines, and the caller was concerned the male might try to run onto I-90. Another caller reported the male was saying someone was being murdered.
At approximately 1:50 am, a caller reported almost hitting a shirtless male who jumped the barrier of I-90 and ran across.
As multiple Deputies searched for the male near the 1700 block of N. Union, another caller reported hearing possible gunshots and witnessing a male, who matched the initial male’s description, throwing rocks.
A Deputy stopped on I-90 near Pines with his emergency lights activated to warn unsuspecting motorists on I-90, while hoping to deter the man from running back toward/across the roadway. Other Deputies reported hearing the man but could not visually locate him.
As Deputies continued to search on foot, the Deputy on I-90 noticed a semi-truck stopped to his west with its hazard lights on as the truck driver called to report a male had just run across the freeway. The Deputy looped around to the westbound side of I-90 as another Deputy reported seeing the male running northbound across the interstate.
The Deputy on I-90 noticed a figure jump the northern barrier of I-90 (south of Bates and Indiana) and quickly responded to make contact. In full uniform and a clearly marked patrol car, the Deputy attempted to contact the man, identifying himself as a Deputy, even illuminating himself with his flashlight to show his uniform. The man tried climbing the barrier toward the interstate but fell backward. He stood back up, yelling for help as he continued walking west, away from the Deputy. The man climbed back over the barrier onto the shoulder of the roadway. The Deputy told him to sit down, noting the male’s chest and stomach had multiple bleeding cuts, believed to have been caused as he crossed over fences. The male’s knees were bleeding from open cuts, and he appeared out of breath as he clutched his chest.
The male, showing obvious signs of being in crisis, began to run toward the travel lanes. The Deputy took him to the ground, preventing him from crossing the highway, risking his safety and the motorists in the area. The man pulled his arms away and struggled as the Deputy requested emergency assistance via his radio. Eventually, he gained control and placed the man in handcuffs. He continued efforts to try and calm the man down as additional Deputies arrived to assist.
Medics were requested to evaluate the man, and he was taken to a medical center under the Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) for crisis treatment and was not charged with a crime.
Later in the morning, at approximately 5:40 am, Deputies were called to a hotel in the 12400 block of E. Mission for a reported disorderly male. The caller stated the male, later determined to be the same male noted above, appeared to have a wristband from a hospital and was running around, knocking on all the doors, telling people to call 911.
Multiple callers reported similar activity. As Deputies responded, they realized this was probably the same male who was in crisis and brought to a medical center earlier in the morning.
Staff brought a Deputy to the male’s location, where he continued to yell, telling the Deputy he was not the police. Attempts to de-escalate the man did not work, as he ran into a stairwell, and a fire alarm sounded.
The Deputy went downstairs and found the man standing near a wall-mounted fire alarm, confronting another assisting Deputy. With the assistance of other arriving Deputies, the male was again placed in custody.
It was later determined that the man was discharged from the medical center after refusing treatment, despite his obviously altered mental state, and ran from a family member’s car in the parking lot. He continued to ramble about a plot to kill him throughout the contact.
Taking all of this into account and not wanting to see the man injure himself or others, combined with it being abundantly clear he was not making rational decisions, he was arrested for Tampering with a Fire Alarm, a misdemeanor.
After receiving a booking exception for his safety and others, he was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail. Additionally, mental health hold paperwork was completed, ensuring a mental health professional would see him prior to release.