Armed Suspect Arrested after Early Morning Pursuit
Spokane Valley Corporal Jeff Thurman and his partner K9 Laslo arrested 42-year-old Thomas E. Lenocker after a pursuit of a stolen Jeep pulling a stolen trailer and foot chase. Lenocker, a convicted felon with a lengthy history of law enforcement contacts, was in possession of a loaded .357 revolver and methamphetamine.
On February 20, 2017, at approximately 4:10 a.m., Spokane Valley Corporal Thurman observed a vehicle matching the description of a previously reported stolen vehicle while traveling westbound on I-90 in the area of Havana. He checked the truck’s license plate and confirmed it was reported stolen (from the 3700 block of E. 13th during the evening/morning hours of 2/17-18/2017).
While Corporal Thurman continued to observe the vehicle and wait for additional units to assist, the driver, later identified as Lenocker, accelerated and began to flee. Lenocker took the 2nd Avenue exit, continued on 2nd until he turned south on Perry. Persistent in his attempt to evade Corporal Thurman, he approached the area of 5th and Pittsburg where he stopped and fled on foot.
Corporal Thurman told Lenocker to stop as he and K9 Laslo exited their patrol vehicle. Lenocker did not comply and continued to flee as he reached into his waistband. Corporal Thurman followed Lenocker, who was still reaching toward his waistband, over a snowbank. Corporal Thurman had his firearm drawn, fearing Lenocker was trying to grab firearm, when he observed Lenocker’s hand emerge holding what appeared to be a pistol as Lenocker started to fall toward the ground. While Lenocker fell, the handgun dropped out of his hand. K9 Laslo was deployed to stop him from fleeing or grabbing the gun again. Instead of trying to collect the weapon, Lenocker ran and was quickly apprehended by Laslo while attempting to jump a fence and taken into custody.
The male passenger in the vehicle fled at the same time as Lenocker. A perimeter was established by Spokane Police, Spokane County Sheriff and Spokane Valley patrol units but a search was unsuccessful.
After being advised of his rights, Lenocker said he borrowed the vehicle from a friend and the passenger was a hitchhiker and he didn’t know him. Lenocker denied knowing the vehicle was stolen or that he was in possession of the .357 pistol which was recovered and Corporal Thurman witnessed him pull during the foot pursuit. He said he ran because the truck didn’t have a DUI Interlock Device which is required on vehicles he drives.
Lenocker was provided medical attention prior to being transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Attempting to Elude a Pursuing Police Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine (located in his pocket), Obstructing and Resisting Arrest.
A search warrant for the trailer, also reported stolen (from the 13600 block of E. Riverside on 2/18/17 between 1:00 and 6:00 a.m.), will be requested and additional charges are possible as this investigation continues.
Neither the stolen truck, the stolen trailer, nor any of the Spokane Valley Police or Sheriff’s Office vehicles, suffered damaged during this incident.