January 18, 2013

Judge dismisses gun charge against Shea

By The Spokesman-Review
 

State Rep. Matthew Shea no longer faces a misdemeanor gun charge sparked when he pulled a gun during a road rage dispute.

Shea, R-Spokane Valley, was charged in 2011 for keeping a loaded gun in his pickup without a valid concealed weapons permit.

City of Spokane Municipal Court Judge Tracy Staab determined on Friday that Shea complied with the deal he made with city prosecutors a year ago. In it, prosecutors agreed to drop the charge if he didn’t violate other non-traffic laws for a year.

The charge was highlighted by his opponent, Democrat Amy Biviano, during his reelection bid in the fall, but Shea easily won reelection, capturing 56.6 percent of the vote.

According to police reports, Shea and two other motorists called 911 on Nov. 23, 2011 with reports of erratic driving on downtown Spokane streets. One driver said she saw a green Chevy Lumina driving in a “horribly aggressive” manner on Monroe Street, speeding up, slowing down, changing lanes and stopping suddenly. She followed, recorded the license number and eventually lost the Lumina at 29th Avenue.

Leroy Norris, the driver of the Lumina, called police to report he had been driving on Monroe when a pickup truck cut him off and he had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. He honked his horn, made some “aggressive lane changes” with the pickup, and the driver of that vehicle “flipped him off.” The driver of the pickup pulled a handgun from the passenger side of the car and pointed it at him, he said. He “freaked out” and drove away “crazy” because he thought his life was in danger, he added.

Shea also called police to report the driver of the Lumina, and the investigating officer contacted him several hours later. Shea said he “may or may not have cut someone off” but said the driver of the Lumina at one point made a beeline for the front of his vehicle.

Shea told officers he pulled the gun out of his glove compartment and placed it on his seat. He told police that he felt he was being targeted for his work.

Last summer, Shea’s attorney told The Spokesman-Review that Shea’s gun wasn’t loaded.

But the deal with prosecutors that Shea signed said that “defendant stipulates to the accuracy and admissibility of the police reports.” Police reports indicate that the gun was loaded.

Shea did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday afternoon.

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