March 29, 2010 in City, News
Gunman killed by police had history of assault
A gunman shot and killed by Spokane police on Friday had assaulted law enforcement in Vancouver, Wash., eight years ago.
Todd E. White, 46, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony third-degree assault in January 2002 – two months after he attacked two sheriff’s deputies in a Clark County courtroom.
White had a warrant for his arrest stemming from those earlier convictions when police say he fired shots at an officer responding to a report that White was outside his sister’s home with a gun on Friday. The officer, who has not been identified, fired several shots, and White was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The officer or officers involved in the shooting, who are expected to be publicly identified this week, have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol for police-involved shootings.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case with the Spokane Police Department.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan said on Monday that he had no new information. He said he could not say if officers knew of White’s criminal history when they responded to a call for help from White’s brother-in-law, Gary Paul, about 6 a.m. on Friday. Felons are prohibited from possessing firearms
A suspect’s criminal history can mean increased police response to an initial call but doesn’t change protocol for lethal force.
The incident began when a neighbor called the Pauls on Friday morning to tell them that White was outside the home with a gun, according to the Sheriff’s Office. White’s father recently died, and “there was a dispute over some guns that had been inherited,” Reagan said.
Police haven’t said how many shots White fired before he was shot. He collapsed in the Paul’s yard and was pronounced dead about 8 a.m.
Clark County issued a warrant for White in 2005 for not paying fines related to his third-degree assault convictions, according to court records.
When the assaults occurred, White was already in jail for failing to comply with terms of previous felony convictions for trafficking in stolen property and forgery in 1993 and 1995.
White was in an inmate-attorney interview room when an official told deputies he was “not being cooperative, was refusing to sit down and was slamming the door,” according to court documents.
White refused a deputy’s orders and shoved him when the deputy tried to grab his upper arm. The two began punching each other, and another deputy “joined the fight” before White was handcuffed, according to court documents.
White was sentenced to eight months in jail for the assaults.
Police say White, a father of four, lived in Spokane.