A gunman fired several rounds at a Spokane police officer early this morning, missing the officer but striking his patrol car.
The shooting occurred as the officer, who has not been identified, was guarding the scene of a shooting several hours earlier in the 1100 block of West Frederick.
The gunman has not been identified, and detectives from the drug, gang and major crimes units are poring over tips, said spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.
“Just definitely protect yourself,” DeRuwe said. “If they’re going to shoot at us, they’re not going to hesitate to shoot at the community,”
The officer was at Frederick Avenue and Madison Street about 5 a.m. when he spotted a Suburban stolen from the 1600 block of East Rowan minutes earlier and followed it. The Suburban’s owner had gone back inside her home and left the vehicle running to warm it up, police said.
The officer got out of his patrol car and called for backup when the SUV suddenly pulled over on Alice Avenue, police said, and a passenger in the car “fired several rounds directly at him and his patrol car.” It’s unclear where the passenger was in the vehicle.
The officer, who was not injured, wasn’t able to return fire as the vehicle sped away, police said.
Patrol officers found the stolen Suburban abandoned at Dalton and Lincoln. SWAT team members and a police dog searched for the shooter but haven’t found any suspects.
Police think the gunman was involved in an attempted car theft in the 1100 block of East Sanson about 20 minutes before the Suburban was stolen.
In that case, a woman said she was inside her car when two men smashed out the driver’s side window and assaulted her with the grip of a handgun before she drove away. The woman suffered minor injuries.
Police were in the area because of a shooting at 1103 W. Frederick Ave. hours earlier.
An 18-year-old man is in critical condition after being shot in an altercation between two groups in the front yard of the home about 8:45 p.m Tuesday.
Police are investigating if the shooting at the police officer is connected to the earlier shooting.
Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.