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Man Killed In Spokane Alley Off-Duty Policeman In Tuxedo Catches Suspect, Who Faces Murder Charge

A man was killed by a shotgun blast to his head just before noon Sunday in the alley behind his home at Atlantic and Garland.

Police would not release the name of the victim pending notification of relatives.

Witnesses said the man was in the alley when two men drove up in a pickup, got out of the truck and started fighting with the victim. One of the men then shot the victim at close range.

Police officer Mel Taylor was driving west on Garland near Jim Dandy Donuts just as the shooting occurred at 11:25 a.m.

Taylor, who was off duty, had been married Saturday night and still was wearing his tuxedo. His wife was driving another car behind him.

Taylor drove over a concrete island and followed a man running south in the alley. The man threw the weapon into a trash can as he fled. Taylor caught him.

Jerome A. Grant, 18, who listed his residence as Sun City, Ariz., was booked into Spokane County Jail on first-degree murder charges.

The other man in the pickup also was taken into custody but was released after questioning, police said.

Police have not determined a motive.

Neighbors said that about three weeks ago, they started to keep track of license plates and comings and goings at the home at Atlantic and Garland because of what they described as suspicious activity.

On Thursday night, one of the cars and trucks parked behind the home caught on fire.

One family moved into the home in May, and in July another family, including the victim, also moved into the house, neighbors said.

The victim’s wife left the home Sunday afternoon with two police chaplains, two large suitcases and a little boy wearing overalls and carrying a teddy bear.

“It was just a senseless death,” said the woman, her face stained with tears. “We owed $300, and we were a couple days late, and they shot him.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo