Arrow-right Camera


Officers in shooting named

Sergeant at fatal scene saved child’s life in 2004

The police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a domestic violence suspect Sunday have been identified as Officer Chris McMurtrey and Sgt. Dave Overhoff.

McMurtrey, 31, has been with the Spokane Police Department for two years; Overhoff, 48, is an 18-year veteran. Investigators have not said who fired the shots that killed Kenneth R. Dennis, 26, who police say was shot after he “almost stabbed one of the officers,” according to a search warrant filed in Spokane County District Court.

That officer was interviewed this morning, said Trooper Troy Briggs, spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, which is leading the multiagency investigation.

“It’ll probably be Monday until we release” his name Briggs said.

Dennis’ family said the officers burst into the home and did not identify themselves. They have declined further interviews.

Investigators believe Dennis, who had no substantial criminal record, fought with his girlfriend, Crystal A. Barrett, 24, before police arrived at 5726 N. Elgin St. in northwest Spokane.

According to the warrant, which was used to search the home after the shooting, Cassandra L. Shear, Barrett’s friend, called police to say that Barrett “was locked inside the house and was being pushed by her intoxicated boyfriend.” Shear called again to say she wasn’t being allowed in the home.

Investigators say officers were dispatched to the home at 3:52 a.m. An officer arrived on the scene at 3:57 a.m. At 3:59 a.m., a second officer arrived. Shots were fired three minutes later, at 4:02 a.m. At 4:08 a.m. the Spokane Fire Department arrived, followed by an ambulance at 4:13 a.m.

A 13-inch knife was found near Dennis’ body, WSP said. Shell casings from police gunfire also were recovered.

Overhoff used to supervise the police department’s K-9 puppy program but now works patrol without a dog, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, department spokeswoman.

Overhoff received a police lifesaving medal in 2004 after he pulled over a speeding car and saved a 10-month-old child who was turning blue and was not responsive, according to news archives.

Overhoff also was one of two sergeants and longtime friends who notified supervisors about alleged threats made by Detective Jay Mehring regarding Mehring’s now ex-wife. A jury acquitted Mehring following a two-week trial that included testimony from Overhoff.

McMurtrey is a former standout baseball pitcher for University High School and the Spokane Bandits American Legion team. His publicized police work includes the discovery of a meth lab in a man’s backpack last May. He and another officer also crashed a police car in November 2009 while responding to a distress call from a sheriff’s deputy.

Top stories in Spokane

Freeman students march in unity to honor memory of slain classmate Sam Strahan

UPDATED: 9:38 p.m.

Drenched in sunshine and a sharp spring wind, more than 70 students marched Friday out of Freeman High School behind a “Freeman Strong” banner to the same football field where they sheltered in fear last September following the shooting that killed 15-year-old Sam Strahan and injured three girls.