A 39-year-old Spokane Valley woman leveled a shotgun at a sheriff’s deputy and squeezed the trigger Monday afternoon - then was quickly gunned down by two other deputies.
The shotgun blast hit the deputy in the chest at close range, but his bulletproof vest saved him from serious injury.
Lillian D. Lane had been quarreling with her husband inside their East Skyview apartment shortly before deputies arrived.
Neighbors said the couple had been fighting a couple of times a week in recent months.
Aaron Johnson and Shane Egbert, both 16, said they watched a well-dressed man, whom authorities later identified as Michael G. Lane, pull up in front of the fourplex in a Ford Bronco.
The teenagers watched Lane repeatedly spin the truck’s tires, then get out of the Bronco. He angrily slammed the door and cussed.
Then he went inside Apartment C.
A short time later, Johnson and Egbert said they spotted Lane at a nearby convenience store.
Lane called the Sheriff’s Department for help at 12:26 p.m., complaining that his wife was out of control and had attempted to assault him.
Deputies met Lane at the store, then accompanied him to the apartment.
Minutes after Lane and the three deputies were inside, the woman fired the shotgun. She again pointed the weapon at the wounded officer, and the two other deputies returned fire, fatally wounding her.
Maria Northcutt, who lives upstairs in the building, said she had just finished lunch when she heard yelling and stepped into the hallway to look at the scene below.
She heard deputies and Michael Lane pleading with Lillian Lane not to fire the shotgun.
“They told her, ‘Put the gun down. Don’t shoot. It’s not worth it,”’ Northcutt said. “She would respond like, ‘Nobody cares about me. Nobody loves me.’
“The husband would say, ‘Yes, I love you,’ and she would say, ‘No, you don’t love me.”’
At one point, Lane pleaded with his wife not to shoot him, Northcutt said.
“The little I was able to see, the kitchen floor was a mess. It was like she went wild,” Northcutt said. “I thought she was trying to kill herself.”
Lillian Lane had an alcohol problem, according to authorities, but it wasn’t clear whether she had been drinking prior to Monday’s shooting.
Randal Chesser, who lives directly above the Lanes’ apartment, said he often heard the couple argue, including a noisy fight Sunday night.
“He said, ‘You always mess up when you drink,”’ Chesser said. “I almost called the police. I probably should have.”
That night, Michael Lane left the apartment but then the sound of objects crashing against walls began.
“While he was gone, she was throwing stuff everywhere,” Chesser said. “He came home and said, ‘This is the worst you’ve done.”’
The deputy who was shot Monday suffered minor wounds and was treated and released, Sheriff’s Lt. David Wiyrick said.
Most of the shotgun pellets were deflected by the deputy’s vest and gun, Wiyrick said.
Michael Lane complained of chest pains afterward and was treated at Valley Hospital and Medical Center. He was staying with friends Monday night.
“He’s been through a terrible experience,” said the Rev. George Hippe, a minister at Valley Fourth Memorial Church, who consoled Lane at the scene.
Michael Lane was charged with fourth-degree assault in a domestic violence incident. The charge was dismissed in 1993, according to district court officials.
The Sheriff’s Department wouldn’t release the names of the deputies involved in the shooting.
The case is being investigated by Spokane police and sheriff’s detectives.
Prior to Monday’s shooting, the last time Spokane County sheriff’s deputies were involved in a fatal shooting was Dec. 13.
After a chase in the Valley, deputies fired four shots at Don Stowell, 41, who was armed and suicidal and had fired a shot. It wasn’t clear whether the shot that killed Stowell came from a deputy or Stowell’s own gun.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo Map of shooting site
The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Gita Sitaramiah Staff writer Staff writer Dan Hansen contributed to this report.