A reportedly armed and suicidal man was shot to death Monday night by Spokane police after a nearly two-hour standoff on the lower South Hill.
The identity of the dead man, described as being in his mid-40s and from Spokane County, was being withheld as authorities sought to notify his relatives. He had crashed his van at Seventh Avenue and Hatch Street while fleeing police after making threats at his workplace earlier in the evening, police said. He then refused to get out of the overturned vehicle.
It was unclear what prompted officers to open fire on him.
Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe confirmed that the man was pronounced dead at the scene, and said a firearm was found inside his vehicle.
“He was posing a threat to the community because he was armed,” said DeRuwe, adding that she couldn’t say whether officers had been fired upon.
Neighbors said the man had threatened officers from inside the van, claiming he was armed and warning that he had “plenty of ammo.” They said police tried negotiating with him, at times using a megaphone, urging him to surrender peacefully.
Gary Adams was on his way to visit a friend when police suddenly began converging on the area. He said he could hear officers talking over a loudspeaker asking what the man needed in order to be persuaded to surrender.
But shortly before 8:30 p.m., several rapid gunshots were heard. Adams said the shots were fired rapidly, “real quick.” After that, it got quiet.
Police said that earlier in the evening the man’s employer had alerted authorities after he had made threats at the workplace, which they did not identify. The original call to police came from the 800 block of Hatch Street, which is near the crash scene.