In brief: Medical building locked down as police search for gunman
Reports of a gunman caused the lockdown of Providence Sacred Heart Doctors Building for several hours Friday evening as police searched the parking garage and building.
Police responded about 7:20 p.m. to the building across from the main building of Sacred Heart Medical Center, 101 W. Eighth Ave., on reports of a man entering the building with what looked like a rifle under his arm. Authorities surrounded the building, and some employees remained working inside in sheltered positions.
Around 9:45 p.m. police said they had cleared the parking garage and about half of the building. They estimated that clearing the rest of the seven-story building would take one to two hours.
The suspected gunman was described as white, with dark hair and a dark beard. Two witnesses, police said, reported seeing him walking in the building carrying a gun.
Woman held after man found dead in Colville apartment
Colville and Stevens County law enforcement officials are investigating the apparent homicide of a 56-year-old man who was discovered Thursday in a Colville apartment.
Colville Police Department officers responded at 8:20 a.m. Thursday to a report of a dead man at 2072 1/2 W. Second St.
Police found David S. Barr dead with obvious signs of trauma to his head and neck, Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said.
“It appeared to law enforcement that he had suffered a violent death,” Rasmussen said. An autopsy was planned in Spokane.
Later Thursday, officers arrested 49-year-old Deena L. Bailey, who is Barr’s relative.
Rasmussen would not say how investigators believe Barr was killed.
Bailey appeared Friday before Stevens County District Court Judge Gina Tveit, who ordered her held in jail on a charge of second-degree murder and a $1 million bond, Rasmussen said.
The case is being investigated by Colville police with assistance from the Stevens County sheriff and the Washington State Patrol, Rasmussen said.
Experts say meteor caused flash of light above Rockford
A flash of light and loud noise seen in the morning skies of Eastern Washington on Friday probably was a meteor, a government agency said.
The Pacific NW Seismograph Center said the object entered the Earth’s atmosphere about 6:30 a.m. above the town of Rockford. Seismic equipment was used to confirm the time and location, the center said in a report Friday.
Pair arrested after police find drugs, guns, explosives
The Special Investigative Unit of the Spokane Police Department served search warrants Friday that yielded meth, firearms and explosive devices.
Police served the search warrant around 9:30 a.m. Friday looking for drugs in a home at 2804 E. Central Ave.
Inside, police said, they found Randy A. Norberg, 31, and Tiffany N. Thompson, 21, along with fortified doors and video surveillance equipment. They also found nearly a half pound of methamphetamine, two loaded handguns and a loaded shotgun.
Police said Norberg is a convicted felon who cannot legally possess firearms.
During a search of the garage, police said, they found suspicious materials determined to be explosive devices.
Norberg was booked into Spokane County Jail on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, three counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful fortification of a building for drug purposes. Thompson was booked on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.
North Idaho business owner convicted of tax evasion
After spending thousands of dollars on homes, apartments and trips to Las Vegas, a North Idaho business owner has been convicted of tax evasion in federal court.
Michael George Fitzpatrick, 51, of Hope, Idaho, was convicted Friday of two counts of income tax evasion, the U.S. attorney’s office announced.
According to the indictment and evidence at trial, Fitzpatrick operated a business offering to help people eliminate credit card debt. During 2003 and 2004, the businesses, Dynamic Solutions Inc. and NAES, had a gross income that exceeded $9 million.
Fitzpatrick last filed an individual tax return in 1996, prosecutors said. The corporations failed to report $3.7 million, and Fitzpatrick more than $500,000 in income.
During a two-year period, he used offshore funds to buy a house and two four-unit apartment buildings for a combined total of $700,000, prosecutors said. He also wired $114,980 from his offshore bank to the Bellagio casino during trips to Las Vegas.
Fitzpatrick faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of tax evasion.
Inslee reappoints WSP chief despite union objections
OLYMPIA – Gov.-elect Jay Inslee is standing by Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste despite objections from the troopers union.
Inslee said Friday he was reappointing Batiste, saying he has demonstrated the kind of results-oriented leadership that every agency needs. The Washington State Patrol Troopers Association had said that Batiste was out of touch and had recommended Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar to replace him.
Batiste was first appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2005. He oversees some 2,400 employees while the union represents about 1,000.
Inslee also announced Friday that he was keeping Corrections Secretary Bernard Warner in his cabinet. He said Warner has made improvements to prison safety and the efficient use of resources.
Suspect in ecoterror fires pleads not guilty to charges
GRANTS PASS, Ore. – A woman who turned herself in after a decade as a fugitive in the largest-ever U.S. ecoterrorism investigation pleaded not guilty Friday to conspiracy and arson charges in federal court.
With Canadian citizen Rebecca Rubin, 39, sitting shackled in the jury box, Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ordered her to remain in custody and set trial to begin March 19 in U.S. District Court in Eugene, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Peifer.
A federal indictment accuses Rubin of being a member of cells of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front known as The Family. Investigators blame the group based in Eugene for 20 fires across the West from 1996 to 2001 that did $40 million damage.
She turned herself in to the FBI last November at the Canadian border with Washington. At the time, her lawyer said she wanted to get the case behind her.
Investigators blame the cells for fires at a ski resort in Colorado, wild horse corrals in Oregon and Northern California, and lumber mills and U.S. Forest Service offices in Oregon.
Ten people pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and arson charges and were sentenced to prison. Two others indicted in the case remain at large.