The wife of a man shot and killed by Spokane Police this morning says she feels like she’s in “a dream. It isn’t real.”
Nancy Jones said she and her husband, Dan Jones, have three children, ages 15, 14 and 4. They were living in the family emergency shelter on the campus of the Salvation Army.
She said Jones was being treated for mental illnesses including schizophrenia, and anxiety and bipolar disorders, but that he was taking his medication as prescribed.
Nancy Jones said the family had recently moved to Spokane after Dan Jones was released from prison in Western Washington after serving a sentence on drug charges and probation violation. Newspaper archives show that Jones’ criminal history also includes convictions for theft, possession of stolen property, attempting to elude police and driving on a suspended license.
The Spokane Police Department says Jones had smashed his pickup truck into another vehicle twice near Division and Main streets and crashed into several patrol cars trying to block his escape.
Four officers opened fire on Jones, who was rushed to a Spokane hospital where he was pronounced dead, said Police Chief Frank Straub.
Although it appears Jones was unarmed, Straub said the officers feared for their safety because he already had rammed multiple police cars and another vehicle within a span of just four minutes. Straub could not say specifically how many police vehicles had boxed Jones in. He did say there were “more than two or three.”
The shooting occurred at 6:12 a.m. in the parking lot of the Salvation Army, 204 E. Indiana Ave. Jones first rammed the other truck at Division and Main at 6:08 a.m., police say.
Nancy Jones said her husband had missed the 10 p.m. curfew at the family emergency shelter and had stayed the night with a friend; he was on his way home when the incident began, she said.
A neighbor at the Salvation Army housing, Rosey Blanks, said she looked out the window of the complex this morning to see Jones in a red pickup truck, with several police cars surrounding him and officers with guns drawn.
Jones was yelling out the window that he wouldn’t come out, and that “you’re going to have to shoot me first,” Blanks said.
Blanks said she began yelling out the window to police that they shouldn’t shoot, because Jones has mental illness.
“I was screaming at them, ‘He has mental health issues, please don’t shoot,’” Blanks recalled this morning. “I guess i should have screamed louder.”
Four officers fired their weapons. Family members said Jones was shot seven times.
The Spokane County Medical Examiner is expected to perform an autopsy today.
The four officers involved in the shooting will have their names released within 72 hours.
The Spokane Investigative Regional Response, which is composed of the Spokane Police Department, Washington State Patrol and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, will investigate the incident.
Traffic across the Division Street Bridge was closed in both directions as police investigated the incident this morning.
All programs at the Salvation Army have been closed, including the Food Bank, the Nurturing Center and other programs.