April 13, 2012 in News

Reardan police chief cleared in December shooting


The Reardan police chief will not be charged in the shooting death John R. Merrick in a cemetery.

The Lincoln County Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release that it was closing the case after an investigation found that Merrick fired a handgun at Gary Redmond before the police chief returned fire and sought cover on Dec. 19.

Redmond encountered Merrick in the Reardan Memorial Cemetery during a routine check. He greeted Merrick, according to a prosecutor’s office news release, but Merrick “only stared at Redmond.” Merrick then reached into his vehicle, pulled out the handgun and fired.

Redmond returned fire, and a total of seven rounds were fired, three from Redmond and four from Merrick, according to the investigation conducted by the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team.

During the gunfight, Redmond called for backup, and Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers and Lincoln County Chief Criminal Deputy Brian Telford responded. Magers and Telford approached Merrick’s car, where they found him dead behind the vehicle’s open door. He died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to the response team.

Merrick, also of Reardan, may have been depressed and despondent over the death of his mother, the investigation found. Merrick’s mother had died about a year before and her remains are at the cemetery.

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