The family of slain Spokane Valley pastor Wayne Scott Creach has filed a $14.7 million wrongful death claim against Spokane County, which is a necessary prelude to filing a civil lawsuit.
“A jury may come in and feel highly aggravated at what happened,” said Alan Creach, the pastor’s son. “They may award a very large sum.”
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who is on vacation, said Tuesday that he knows the claim has been filed. “Since it’s gone into the lawsuit phase, I don’t have any comments per our legal advice.”
Creach was shot and killed on Aug. 25 by Deputy Brian Hirzel in the parking lot of Creach’s family business, The Plant Farm, at 14208 E. Fourth Ave. Believing Hirzel may have been stealing from the business, Creach grabbed his pistol and approached the unmarked patrol car.
Hirzel, who has been cleared in criminal, citizen advisory and internal probes, told investigators that he ordered Creach to drop the gun but he initially refused. The 74-year-old Creach eventually put his gun in the back waistband of his pants.
Hirzel said, according to department records, he ordered Creach on the ground and struck him in the leg with his baton after he refused. Hirzel said Creach then grabbed for his .45-caliber pistol and the deputy fired when he could see the butt of Creach’s gun.
“The property owner lost his life and we think that is totally wrong,” Alan Creach said. “Yet, law enforcement didn’t do anything to solve what we see as a very serious problem. We want to make sure the sheriff is bound by the same laws that we as citizens are.”