A 20-year-old man with an extensive criminal history is a suspect in an attempted carjacking early Tuesday that may be linked to the gunshots fired at a Spokane police officer.
Tony E. Dawson, of Spokane, is accused of trying to steal a woman’s 1993 Ford Bronco 20 minutes before a Suburban was stolen about five blocks away.
Minutes after it was reported stolen, the Suburban drove by the scene of a shooting that occurred the night before. A passenger in the SUV fired several rounds, missing a police officer but striking his patrol car.
Police are investigating a possible link between Dawson and the two shootings.
Fingerprints on the Bronco connected Dawson to the crime, according to court documents. Dawson is in Spokane County Jail after appearing in District Court Thursday on a charge of first-degree attempted robbery.
His criminal history began at age 13 with two juvenile felony convictions for stealing a car.
He was sentenced to 41 months in prison in July 2006 on robbery and escape charges after he and a friend used pepper spray to rob to other teenagers, according to court records.
But records show he was released within two years, and was convicted of malicious mischief and making a false statement for an August 2008 incident.
He also has three weapons convictions from an incident when he was 16, according to court documents.
Dawson’s bail on the recent attempted robbery charge was set at $250,000 Thursday, but he’s being held without bond for a probation violation.
The Bronco’s owner called 911 about 4:40 a.m. Tuesday and said a man with a black hooded sweatshirt hit her in the head with a handgun.
Police say that was Dawson, who’s accused of smashing the driver’s window with a gun and beating the woman with the weapon as he tried pushing her into the passenger’s seat.
The woman was able to drive away and was not seriously injured, police said. The attempted carjacking occurred in the 1100 block of East Sanson Avenue.
The Suburban involved in the shooting was stolen from the 1600 block of East Rowan Avenue 20 minutes later, then driven to Frederick Avenue and Madison Street, where a police perimeter had been set up to guard the shooting scene at 1103 W. Frederick Ave.
An officer recognized the Suburban from the theft report issued minutes earlier.
The officer, who has not been identified, followed the Suburban, then got out of his patrol car and called for backup when the SUV suddenly pulled over on Alice Avenue, police said.
A passenger in the car “fired several rounds directly at him and his patrol car,” police said.
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 Avenue and Lincoln Street.
Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.