A Spokane man was taken to a local hospital with a gunshot wound to his stomach Friday after what appears to be an attempted car-jacking in north central Spokane.
Police converged on the Emerson/Garfield neighborhood near Division Street and Buckeye Avenue about 3 p.m., closing off most side streets and locking down a nearby elementary school as they searched for the alleged shooter.
The victim, in his 20s, was stopped at light headed east on Buckeye in a white Mitsubishi when an armed man got into the car and then shot him, said Spokane Police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.
The shooter, later identified as Joseph Ellery, 30, fled on foot, running south on Division Street, witnesses said.
About an hour after the shooting Ellery was tracked by a police K-9 and discovered hiding a dog house in the backyard of a home in the 2500 block of North Normandie Street.
Nicole and Timothy Reeder, who own the home where Ellery was found, were watching a movie when they saw plainclothed police officers swarm their yard.
“I was all spooked and went to grab by own gun,” said Timothy Reeder. Peeking through a small bathroom window facing the backyard, Reeder said he “realized they were police,” and saw Ellery lying on his stomach in the dog house. The police dog bit the suspect several times, and police officers pulled an uncooperative Ellery out, the Reeders said.
“(Timothy) told me to get down. I hid in the bathroom,” Nicole Reeder said. “I was pretty scared.”
The couple said they were planning to throw the dog house — left by the previous homeowners — in the trash, but hadn’t gotten to it yet.
Few details were available late Friday, but police don’t think this was a random incident. The nature of the relationship between Ellery and the victim is unclear, DeRuwe said.
Witnesses said the victim scuffled with Ellery after he climbed into the car, before Ellery allegedly shot him.
After being shot, the victim got out of his car and collapsed at the car’s rear bumper, DeRuwe said.
Another driver, also eastbound on Buckeye next to the victim’s car at the light, got out and tried to help him, said employees at the nearby Starbucks Coffee shop.
Employees said the woman came to the shop after the incident and was distraught; she mentioned to them she tried to help the victim stay calm while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
Because Ellery was potentially armed, police locked down nearby Garfield Elementary School just before the end of the school day. Students were released about 4:30 p.m., after Ellery had been located and taken into custody.
Police later found the gun believed to have been used in the attack behind the Party Palace on North Division, about a block south of the shooting.
The victim, who was not identified, was in critical condition Friday at a local hospital, DeRuwe said.
Ellery was booked into the Spokane County Jail on first-degree assault charges.