Local news

Creach interred near childhood home in Oklahoma

Deputy’s interview planned today

Wayne Scott Creach was laid to rest Thursday on a hillside cemetery in a plot that overlooks the tiny Oklahoma town and nearby farm where the pastor and Spokane Valley business owner spent his childhood.

Alan Creach said the family was surprised to have 200 friends and neighbors attend the service Thursday morning in Hammon, Okla. Now that the funeral is complete, the family is again focused on trying to find out why Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Brian Hirzel fatally shot Scott Creach on Aug. 25 outside his home and nursery business at 14208 E. Fourth Ave.

“We are just as baffled as everybody else,” Alan Creach said. “We are looking forward to the time when they can tell us from his perspective what occurred.”

Count Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich among that group. He said Hirzel is scheduled to be interviewed this morning about the encounter with the 74-year-old Creach, who had armed himself with a pistol before walking up to the deputy’s unmarked patrol car parked in a parking lot next to the pastor’s home.

Since the shooting, Hirzel has been on a weeklong vacation to see a family member in Montana and then on to Las Vegas. The sheriff said Thursday he did not interrupt that vacation because he feared it could taint the investigation by appearing to coerce an interview out of Hirzel.

“Once the interview is taken and typed up, it will be compared to the forensic evidence to make sure everything lines up,” he said.

Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said investigators plan to meet Tuesday to discuss the case. Spokane police are investigating the case as part of an interdepartmental agreement to handle officer-involved shootings.

Knezovich said he hopes at least some information about what Hirzel said can be released after that Tuesday meeting. But he cautioned that the release may be delayed.

“My goal is to get as much information out as we can as rapidly as possible,” he said.

Knezovich also revealed that Hirzel did give what’s called a tactical interview following the shooting. That information included where Hirzel was standing, where Creach was standing and other basic information to help detectives look for evidence.

The investigators also ordered Hirzel to turn over his clothes and weapon. “Somebody went to Walmart to buy him some clothes to wear home,” the sheriff said.

On Wednesday, Knezovich revealed that Hirzel arrived at the Plant Farm at 11:07 p.m. and within moments called for backup deputies – who like Hirzel work for the sheriff’s office but are assigned to work for the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Just 10 seconds after the “Code 6,” Hirzel radioed again that he had fired shots and he needed medics to respond, Knezovich said.

But Alan Creach – who was in Hammon – said he didn’t know about either of those radio calls until he was told by a reporter.

“They control the information,” Creach said of police officials. “I guess we as a community have to take what they say. As I look at this whole thing, I just see so many things that went wrong.”

Creach said he hopes as a result of this encounter that sheriff’s deputies begin calling property owners before parking on their property.

“This was not like a piece of property on Sprague. This was a business property with a home connected. It was like he parked in (Scott Creach’s) front yard,” he said. If Hirzel had called the property owner, “this whole thing could have been avoided.”

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