Spokane law enforcement officers have been involved in 17 shootings since 2001.
With the exception of a shooting by off-duty Spokane police Officer James “Jay” Olsen earlier this year and two recent cases under investigation, every shooting has been ruled justified by the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office.
Of the 11 times when Spokane Police Department officers fired their guns at suspects, four have resulted in fatalities. At least two of the six shootings involving Spokane County sheriff’s officers resulted in deaths; details on the other incidents weren’t available.
Spokane Police Department
May 1: A Spokane police officer shot a man in the face during a struggle in north Spokane. Ryan L. Patterson, 26, is in critical condition at Deaconess Medical Center. The shooting is under investigation by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
March 24: Spokane police Sgt. Daniel Torok shot and killed 33-year-old Jerome Alford during a struggle near downtown Spokane. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
Feb. 26: Olsen shot Shonto K. Pete, wounding him once in the head. Olsen has been charged with first-degree assault and two counts of reckless endangerment. Pete is charged with felony auto theft. Olsen is on unpaid leave while the fate of his job is determined.
Several Spokane police officers responded to a report of a suicidal man. The man answered the door with what appeared to be a semiautomatic weapon and pointed it at two officers standing in the street. Officer Ray Harding fired his gun at the man but missed. The man then threw the gun down; it was a BB gun designed to look like a Beretta.
Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson responded to a report of a man threatening a relative with a gun in West Central. The man fled in a vehicle, but Thompson stopped the car. When the man pointed his gun at Thompson, the officer fired a shot through the car’s windshield, wounding the man.
Spokane police Officer Paul Taylor responded to a report of a suicidal man near Corbin Park. The suspect, who police believed had hurt someone inside the home and was armed, fled the house toward the park. Harding first used his Taser then fired his gun at the man but missed.
Spokane police Sgt. Troy Teigen and Officers Dan Lesser and Kevin Keller fired their guns at a Lewis and Clark High School student after the teen pointed a gun at SWAT team members. The teen was shot in the arm, stomach and jaw but lived.
Officer Michelle Madsen shot and killed 15-year-old Eagle Michael after he pulled a Daisy BB gun made to look like a Colt .45 semiautomatic handgun and threatened to kill Madsen.
Spokane police Sgt. John Wheelwright shot and killed 47-year-old Robert E. Shepard after Shepard pointed a gun at the officers during a robbery investigation at a North Side Safeway.
Several police officers, including Spokane police Officer Chris Lewis, were involved in a gunbattle outside the Spokane Intermodal Center. Two men fired several shots from assault rifles at officers during a stolen car investigation; no one was killed.
Spokane police Officers Gene Baldwin and Alan Edwards shot and killed Ira S. Buroker, 33, after the man pulled a handgun and fired a shot while the officers were wrestling with him in a parking lot.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has had six officer-involved shootings since 2001. However, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan was unwilling to provided details regarding each incident.
The Spokesman-Review archives contained details on two Sheriff’s Office shootings.
Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Tom Edelbrock shot and killed 29-year-old Dustin Lowe west of Spokane. Lowe turned and pointed what appeared to be gun several times during a pursuit and threatened to shoot the officer. The item was a small silver flashlight.
Three Spokane County sheriff’s deputies and a Liberty Lake police officer were involved in the shooting death of 27-year-old Conrad Perez. The man was threatening to shoot the officers with a 9 mm handgun from the roof of an Otis Orchards home.