A man wanted for car theft pointed a gun at a Spokane police officers and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire, police said this morning.
Police say Chase J. Earl West, 22, then escaped capture and was at large late this morning, despite an effort by the Spokane police SWAT team to apprehend him.
The incident started Monday at 11:30 p.m. when officers went to the Randolph Arms Apartments just west of Spokane Falls Community College to arrest Earl-West on a felony warrant.
Police say Earl-West was waiting for officers inside a friend’s apartment and pointed the handgun at an officer when they arrived.
Thirty apartment units were evacuated and residents sent to the student union building at SFCC. The college currently is on college break. The Red Cross was called to provide for temporary needs of the residents. The search was called off about 9 a.m.
Earl-West apparently fled the apartments before the SWAT team could create a perimeter around the apartment complex.
About 7:20 a.m., a woman reported to police that a man matching Earl-West’s description had gotten into the back seat of her vehicle nearby in the 2200 block of North Government Way and wrapped himself in a sleeping bag. After she spotted him, he took off on foot. A search by a police dog was unsuccessful.
Earl-West was sentenced to drug court for a car theft charge in August. He was sentenced to 14 days in jail in October for violating court conditions.
A no-bail warrant was issued Dec. 8 after he didn’t show up for a drug court hearing, according to court records.
Earl-West, 5-foot-8 and 140 pounds, was last seen wearing shorts, a long t-shirt and no shoes, but police say he may have stolen shoes from the woman’s garage.
Police believe Earl-West is armed and dangerous and may seek refuge in garages, cars or outbuildings. Anyone who sees anything suspicious is asked to call 911.