Armed DV Suspect Wanting to be Shot, Successfully Taken into Custody
A suspect armed with a large knife was successfully taken into custody by Spokane Valley Deputies assisted by Spokane County Deputies, Hostage Negotiators, and Air 1. During the incident, the suspect had threatened to take his own life and told deputies he would force them to shoot him.
On June 27, 2017, at approximately 8:45 a.m., Spokane Valley Deputy Jay Bailey responded to the 15700 block of E. Longfellow for a report of several violations of a “No Contact” domestic violence court order of protection.
The victim stated her ex-boyfriend, 41-year-old Benjamin D. Gheorghiu, continued to contact her in violation of the court order. Deputy Bailey observed several text messages sent by Gheorghiu over the past several days on the victim’s phone.
Deputy Bailey confirmed the court order had been served on Gheorghiu and was in effect. Deputy Bailey was unable to contact Gheorghiu in person contacted him by phone. The conversation was cordial and Gheorghiu agreed to meet Deputy Bailey after he finished work.
At approximately 2:15 p.m., he spoke with Gheorghiu on the phone again. Gheorghiu said he knew he “messed up” and asked if he had to meet Deputy Bailey. During the conversation, Gheorghiu became very emotional, upset, and began making suicidal statements. Deputy Bailey tried to calm him down but Gheorghiu made comments that deputies would have to shoot him and hung up.
Deputy Bailey notified the victim of his conversation with Gheorghiu and told her to call 911 if she saw him. She explained Gheorghiu had made statements about “suicide by cop” in the past.
At approximately 3:35 p.m., the victim reported Gheorghiu was sending her text messages again saying today is the day law enforcement will shoot him.
At approximately 4:00 p.m., Deputy Travis Smith and Deputy Bailey responded to a 911 call by the victim reporting Gheorghiu showed up at the Longfellow address and was armed with a knife. Gheorghiu displayed an approximate 12” knife before leaving in a vehicle prior to the deputies’ arrival. The victim also reported receiving several new text messages from Gheorghiu.
At approximately 4:45 p.m., Deputy Cunningham located Gheorghiu’s vehicle parked in the parking lot of Minnehaha (climbing rocks) located at 5626 E. Upriver Drive. A citizen stated Gheorghiu was on top of the climbing rock wall and said he would jump if law enforcement arrived. Several Spokane Valley Deputies and Spokane County Deputies responded to assist along with Hostage Negotiators and Air 1.
Several attempts to by Negotiators and Deputies to coax Gheorghiu into surrendering were unsuccessful. He made several statements he would have to be shot or would jump from the cliff. With Gheorghiu’s erratic behavior and statements, the safety of the public recreating in the area was of great concern. During the standoff, which lasted over an hour, deputies assisted by the airborne view of Air 1, worked to keep innocent citizens from harm as they worked to defuse the situation and less lethal options were deployed if needed.
Just prior to 6:00 p.m., Gheorghiu walked from the cliffs toward the parking lot and his vehicle. As Gheorghiu approached deputies, his knife (approximately 12” fixed blade) in a sheath on his hip, he refused to follow clear instruction to stop and get on the ground. Deputies fired less lethal bean bag rounds striking Gheorghiu which did not stop him and appeared to have no effect. Deputies physically took Gheorghiu to the ground, and despite his efforts to fight and resist, took him into custody.
Gheorghiu was provided medical attention for some minor cuts and abrasions before being transported to a local hospital to be medically cleared by a mental health professional. During this time he continually asked the deputy why deputies didn’t “just shoot” him.
He was then transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Violation of a Court Order of Protection (6 counts).