Spokane police on Tuesday released the names of four officers involved in the fatal shooting of a 40-year-old man last week, as family and friends grieved and remembered a man who had foibles but who was on the mend.
Lt. Kevin King and officers Robert Collins, Corey Lyons and Scott Lesser fired at Danny Jones, a felony hit-and-run suspect, around 6 a.m. Thursday. Jones, who was driving a red truck, twice struck another vehicle then led pursuing police to the parking lot of the Salvation Army complex at 204 E. Indiana Ave. According to police, responding officers made verbal contact with Jones, who began ramming parked police vehicles. Fearing for their safety, officers opened fire around 6:12 a.m., according to police. Jones later died from his injuries.
King has served with the police department for 25 years, earning commendations for his work with the K-9 and SWAT units, including the Medal of Merit. Collins has served 18 years and is a member of the force’s patrol anti-crime team.
Lyons was one of two officers sued by Charles Potter, a guest of the Davenport Hotel who was tackled during an incident in August 2008 in which he stood up physically to officers arresting two other men. A jury acquitted Potter of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest, and the city agreed to settle Potter’s civil case for $49,500 in May. Lyons has served with the force for six years and received commendations for assisting in a bank robbery case and a fatal stabbing case, according to the department.
Scott Lesser has served with the department for three years. He is a member of the department’s patrol and tactical team.
A memorial service for Jones was held Tuesday at CrossWind Church in Mead, near where Jones’ family moved from California in 1980. About 70 people filled pews in the church, signing messages of support to Jones’ wife and three children and taking in a picture collage honoring Jones, who loved trucks and the outdoors.
“He’s not that bad of a guy; he just got into the wrong crowd,” said Jones’ son Dylan, 15.
Jones had recently returned to Spokane from Western Washington following a stay in jail on drug charges and a probation violation, according to his wife, Nancy. He had been diagnosed with mental illnesses but was taking medication as prescribed.
Members of the family questioned why Jones was not taken into custody using nonlethal measures. Jones’ mother, Debbie, saw her son’s body and said Jones had been shot through the temple.
“They murdered my son,” she said.
The family said Jones would often leave the Salvation Army room where they were staying because he grew claustrophobic at night. Jones had been spending time in the family’s camper near CrossWind in recent weeks, friends said.
Nancy Jones clutched an urn containing her husband’s ashes as she hugged family members and friends who came to offer their condolences. In remarks delivered by the church’s pastor, Nancy Jones wrote, “I know I am richer than any millionaire, because he (Jones) loved me and loved our children.”
The Spokane Investigative Regional Response team, made up of members of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Patrol and the Spokane Police Department, are investigating the incident. The shooting was recorded on a surveillance camera on the Salvation Army building.