July 14, 2009 in City

Five officers on leave after man’s fatal shooting

Three were involved; two were witnesses
Meghann M. Cuniff meghannc@spokesman.com, (509) 459-5534
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The fatal shooting of a man armed with a butcher knife Friday in northeast Spokane involved three senior police officers with a combined 35 years of experience in the Spokane Police Department.

Kellee Gately, Jeff McCollough and Jason Curtis are on paid administrative leave after Jason M. Poss, 23, was shot and killed Friday in the 1800 block of East Courtland Avenue.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office released the officers’ names Monday.

The office is investigating the incident, which is standard when city police officers are involved in a fatal shooting.

Officers Ray Harding and Paul Aspaas, who witnessed the shooting, also are on paid leave, said Dave Chandler, the city’s human resources director.

Family members wrote messages on a memorial for Poss near near the scene of the shooting on East Courtland Avenue. Poss was a 2004 Rogers High School graduate.

“A piece of my heart died with you. I will love you for eternity,” said one, signed “Your Mom.”

Poss was shot after he broke into a woman’s home, beat her with a skateboard and stabbed her pit bull, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Poss left the home and encountered the officers on East Courtland Avenue, where he lunged with a knife at one officer in a patrol car, police said.

Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan would not say which officer was in the car and which two officers shot at Poss.

Gately has been a hostage negotiator for 18 years and joined the department in September 1990.

She’s been a tactical team member for six years and teaches crisis intervention team classes for the department, the Sheriff’s Office said.

McCollough was hired in August 1999 and works as a field training officer.

Curtis joined the department in August 2001 after five years at the Reno Police Department and is a member of the tactical team and chemical agent response team.

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