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Gunman Opens Fire On Police No One Hurt; Officers Were On Murder Case

A gunman in a pickup truck fired at least six shots at Spokane police gathering evidence in a murder case Sunday afternoon.

The officers were combing a taped-off area at railroad tracks on Spokane’s northeast side.

The bullets, fired from a large-caliber handgun, missed the officers and evidence technicians, zinging through a fenced-off junkyard of car parts and stacked wood.

Police said the shots fired at 5:16 p.m. near Trent and Fiske probably are not linked to the earlier discovery of a woman’s body by the tracks.

“I don’t think they even knew we were here,” said detective Greg Harshman. “I don’t think it’s anything personal.”

Police took it personally, though, and stationed two officers holding guns just north of the crime scene at the edge of Trent. They also scoured the area for a red 1970s Chevy pickup with a large white stripe down the side. The driver, the only person in the half-ton truck, was described as a white male with shoulder-length brown hair.

Police, who lost sight of the truck before they could reach their patrol cars, didn’t hold out much hope of finding the truck Sunday.

“If you get lucky, you get lucky,” Sgt. Bill Scheres said.

Minutes after the shooting, a truck was pulled over in a K mart parking lot, but police weren’t lucky - wrong vehicle.

Almost every red truck passing by the crime scene sent members of the media scurrying for cover.

Police spokesman Dick Cottam said he believes the shooter knew police were there. “When they shoot at police officers, they’ll shoot at anyone,” he said.

Police had been gathering evidence since about 10 a.m. Sunday in regard to a murdered woman in her 20s or 30s. A Burlington Northern Railroad crew had spotted her body lying near the tracks. She was unclothed from the waist up.

It was the second Easter murder in Spokane in two years. Nobody’s yet been arrested for killing Linda Lewis, 49, last year.

The woman found Sunday had no identification, and police will check her fingerprints.

She had foot-long brown hair with red highlights and several unique scars, police said.

The woman wasn’t a transient, police believe.

An autopsy is scheduled today.

Police wouldn’t say how the woman was killed, but there was blood at the scene.

The woman was apparently dragged from a gravel parking lot and rolled down a grassy embankment to the tracks sometime Saturday night or early Sunday.

Police recovered some evidence from the area. More than an acre was sealed off, and police searched a large area on both sides of the tracks and the embankment. They were still examining the site when the shots were fired.

Harshman, who was with the six-person crew, hustled some of the police workers behind a metal shed.

“When you hear the projectiles, you know you’ve been close,” he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map of area where woman’s body found

MEMO: The body was identified as Donna Lynn Harris.


The body was identified as Donna Lynn Harris.


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