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In brief: Witnesses sought to police shooting


The Spokane Police Department announced Thursday that it is still seeking potential witnesses who may have seen or heard the Aug. 25 encounter when Deputy Brian Hirzel shot and killed pastor Wayne Scott Creach in Spokane Valley.

Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said anyone who saw or heard anything on that night at 14208 E. Fourth Ave. is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, whose agency is leading the investigation, said earlier this week that the investigation could be sent to the Spokane County prosecutor’s office later next week.

Hirzel, who works for the Sheriff’s Office but is assigned to work for the Spokane Valley Police Department, remains on paid administrative leave until the criminal case is complete, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.

Hirzel has told investigators that Creach refused to comply with his commands and he then hit the 74-year-old business owner with a police baton. Hirzel said Creach reached for a gun in his back waistband and Hirzel fired when he could see the butt of the gun, police said.

Hearing delayed for Steele hitman

A plea hearing for an alleged hitman-turned-informant has been postponed until October.

Larry A. Fairfax, 49, has agreed to plead guilty to two federal weapons charges connected to a pipe bomb placed under Cyndi Steele’s car as part of a murder plot the FBI says was hatched by her husband, former Aryan Nations lawyer Edgar Steele.

But Fairfax was reluctant to admit on Tuesday that the device had the potential to explode, and a hearing scheduled for Thursday was postponed because of scheduling conflicts with the judge, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Traci Whelan.

Cyndi Steele has hired a lawyer and filed a 16-page affidavit objecting to the proposed plea deal and alleging her rights as a victim have been violated.

Fairfax’s new hearing is set for Oct. 7.

A man accused of a downtown Spokane stabbing claimed self-defense and said the victim made him “go crazy,” according to court documents prepared by police.

Eugene A. Young, 36, told police he had “mental health issues” after he was arrested about 7:10 p.m. Wednesday near Pacific Avenue and Division Street where he’d argued with a couple after bumping into them at a 7-Eleven store, officers said.

Police say Young stabbed Mark E. Norton in the chest with a small pocket knife after following Norton and his girlfriend from the store. Norton’s girlfriend said Young had bumped into her as she left the store and became belligerent when she confronted him.

The store clerk, Young’s girlfriend, “defused the situation enough” so the couple could walk away, but Young followed and stabbed Norton, police said.

Young is a felon who was sentenced to 20 months in prison in September 2008 for third-degree assault.

He remains in Spokane County Jail on $75,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court on Thursday on a first-degree assault charge.

A 14-year-old boy has been accused of raping and molesting children he baby-sat at an apartment complex in Pullman.

Whitman County court documents indicate there are four victims.

KXLY-TV reports the boy also is accused of choking one of the victims and threatening to kill her if she told of the abuse.

The teen is held in juvenile detention.

Police seeking sex offender

A convicted child rapist with a history of not checking in with authorities is wanted by police for failing to register as a sex offender.

Robert R. Ellison, 28, has been living in the Spokane area since August 2000 after serving time at a youth correctional camp for communicating with an 11-year-old girl for immoral purposes, according to news archives. He also has a first-degree rape conviction for attacks on two 8-year-old boys.

Ellison has at least three convictions for failing to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors issued a new $25,000 warrant for his arrest Aug. 20. Now Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to his capture.

Ellison has been classified as a level 3 sex offender, the type considered most likely to reoffend, but it’s unclear if he’s still classified that way.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Beginning today, SNAP is scheduling appointments for low-income Spokane County residents in need of heating assistance for the 2010-’11 winter season.

Appointments are being scheduled in expectation that Congress will fund the program, which last year distributed $7.5 million in energy assistance to more than 14,000 county households.

SNAP phone lines will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments for qualifying applicants will be scheduled up to 14 weeks away.

Call (509) 242-2376 or use the Web appointment calendar at