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Man shot by deputies was unarmed

UPDATED: Fri., Sept. 7, 2012, 2:39 p.m.

A man killed by Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies Wednesday was unarmed, but was holding a set of keys behind his back back that deputies believed was a weapon when they fired, according to a police news release.

Earlier today, the Spokane County medical examiner’s office confirmed today that the man shot was 47-year-old Edward Stanley Gover.

According to police, Deputy Aaron Childress and Deputy Eric Werner responded to the home on North Skipworth Court after a woman living there said she had been assaulted by Gover.

“Deputy Childress had responded to a domestic violence call between the victim and Gover back in June and was familiar with their situation,” the news release said.

Gover had left the house in the woman’s car, but reappeared after deputies were finishing interviewing her Wednesday.

“The deputies recognized Gover’s intense, determined look and were concerned about his state of mind,” according to the news release.

Gover had assaulted the woman with a knife on Tuesday night, causing a cut on her arm.

A car chase and foot chase followed, with Gover circling back to the woman’s house on foot.

“As Childress entered the backyard, Gover popped his head up over the fence. Deputy Childress yelled at Gover that he is under arrest and to come over the fence,” the release said.

“Gover jumped the 6-foot fence and said he had something in his hands and indicated he had a weapon. Gover shoved his hand into his pants pocket, said he had a knife and then pulled his hand out and put it behind his back, in an attempt to conceal it from deputies. Deputies saw something black and shiny in Gover’s hand.”

The news release said Gover “continued to charge at Deputy Childress” while yelling to officers that “they would have to kill him.”

Police say Childress repeatedly ordered Gover to show his hands and get on the ground.

Childress fired his handgun five times and Werner fired his shotgun once.

The medical examiner’s office said today that Gover’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the trunk and a shotgun wound to the pelvis.

After Gover was shot, deputies performed CPR.

The news release said detectives located a “set of keys, black and shiny, next to Gover after the shooting.”

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said today that the deputies acted to defend the woman.

“Those deputies were the only thing between the victim and the suspect who had already assaulted her,” he said. The news release said there was a handgun in a safe in the home.

On Oct. 30, 2009, Childress was one of two deputies who opened fire on David J. Glidden when he went outside his home with an Airsoft pellet pistol, a toy that resembles a firearm. Glidden was left paralyzed below the waist.

The deputies, who were assigned to the Spokane Valley Police Department, were responding to Glidden’s home on a report of a suicidal and possibly armed man.

In that situation, when Childress and Deputy Griffin Criswell opened fire, they created a “crossfire situation (that) could have been avoided, given better positioning at the front of the house,” according to an internal affairs investigation. “It was very fortunate that neither deputy was struck by the other’s bullets during the gunfire,” the investigation said.

The Sheriff’s Office ruled the shooting justified, saying the presence of a weapon pointed at deputies meant “anything less than deadly force would have been inappropriate.”

This story is developing and will be updated.

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