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Federal gang task force investigating Valley business

UPDATED: Tue., April 2, 2013, 12:07 p.m.

A search warrant was served on this Spokane Valley building this morning. (Jennifer Pignolet)
A search warrant was served on this Spokane Valley building this morning. (Jennifer Pignolet)

Gun shots this morning at a former radiator business in Spokane Valley drew a search warrant and the participation of a federal gang task force from Spokane and North Idaho.

Spokane Valley Sheriff’s deputies received a report of a gunshot at 316 S. Dishman Road around 7 a.m.

A caller reported that he had been fired on from someone in a building at that address, according to a news release.

As deputies were investigating that shooting, they were notified that the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force had an active investigation involving the same address, the release said.

The building was searched by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, the Explosive Disposal Unit and hostage negotiators.

Shawn Mertes, 36, was arrested on charges of aiming or discharging a firearm, said Spokane County sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin.

The building is owned by Jerry Colvin, but leased by Ian Harris, Colvin said. Colvin said he retired in 2008. Harris’s involvement in the incident this morning is unclear.

Frank Harrill, the FBI’s senior agent in Eastern Washington, confirmed that the agency’s Safe Streets task force participated in the enforcement action this morning.

The FBI’s Safe Streets task forces work to “identify, disrupt, and dismantle existing and emerging violent criminal enterprises and gangs,” according to the agency’s website.

This story is developing. More information will be reported as it becomes available.

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