A Stevens County Sheriff’s reserve deputy fired the shot that killed a 66-year-old man last Friday night following a 911 call to the man’s Valley residence.
The family of John E. Peterson said Wednesday that he was a Vietnam veteran who suffered post traumatic stress syndrome and had called authorities in the past when he became depressed.
On Friday night, two Stevens County deputies responded to 3675 Deer Creek Road in Valley and found Peterson on the phone with 911 while he was holding a gun, Spokane County Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said in a news release.
The deputies were five-year veteran Travis Frizzell and Reserve Deputy Nick Wolfe.
“Deputy Frizzell and Wolfe identified themselves to Peterson immediately and Deputy Frizzell proceeded to give commands to Peterson,” Chamberlin wrote. “Peterson did not follow Deputy Frizzell’s commands, turned toward Reserve Deputy Wolfe and pointed a firearm at him.
“Reserve Deputy Wolfe fired one round, fatally wounding Peterson.”
Chamberlin made the news release because Spokane County has been designated the lead agency as part of the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team, which is investigating the shooting.
On Wednesday, Peterson’s family met with detectives and told them that Peterson previously made calls to law enforcement in Minnesota. He just recently moved to Stevens County where he was in negotiations to buy the home where he had been staying, said Douglas Kari, who is the family spokesman.
“As a result of his disability, John occasionally became despondent and called the police seeking help. Police had come to his home (in Minnesota) on more than one occasion and consoled him,” Kari said. “At the time of his death, he was an elderly man with no criminal record.”
Kari said he hopes to get more information as the investigation progresses.
“Our thoughts are also with the families of the deputies who were involved in this tragic incident,” Kari said, “as we know that this must be a difficult time for them, as it is for us.”