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Gunshot victim found dead

Fri., Dec. 9, 2011

Two suspects face murder charges

A Spokane man shot in what detectives believe was a dispute with two neighbors called 911 and asked for help just before he died, police said Thursday.

The man was located just blocks from police headquarters, and officers arrived within minutes to find him dead.

Within 12 hours, detectives had two suspects in custody: David C. McLaughlin, 21, and his girlfriend, Melinda R. Barrera, 31.

The medical examiner’s office is conducting an autopsy on the victim, who is identified only as a white man in his 30s.

His identity will be released once family members have been notified, police said.

Neighbors said the home at 1328 W. Dean Ave. is divided into four or five apartments. The victim lived in an apartment on the building’s west side; McLaughlin and Barrera’s entrance is on the south side.

Police believe Barrera shot the man in the chest after McLaughlin assaulted him. Police have not released a motive.

Neighbor Steve Doutre said he awoke Thursday morning to heavy police activity across the street. He knows men who live in the upstairs portion of the home, but he said he didn’t know the victim or suspects. He said the house had frequent visitors and had been visited by police before.

Neither Barrera nor McLaughlin appears to have a criminal history in Washington state.

Barrera and McLaughlin have been booked into Spokane County Jail and are facing second-degree murder charges.

They’re expected to appear in Spokane County Superior Court via video this afternoon.

The apartment is about two blocks away from the complex of the Spokane County government and law enforcement offices, including the county courthouse and Public Safety Building.

The homicide is the third in Spokane County in two weeks.

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