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Spokane County sheriff defends deputy’s actions

He calls family’s takes on shooting flawed

A Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy’s actions confronting an intoxicated man early Saturday were evidence of bravery, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Tuesday.

Deputy Jerad Kiehn shot and killed Roy Jacobs in a Spokane Valley apartment after Jacobs threatened him with a knife, investigators say.

Knezovich said Jacobs’ family’s accounts of the incident, and previous reports based on interviews with family members, have been largely untrue.

“We have a vast amount of inconsistent stories that came out from the family and witness members,” he said.

When Kiehn, along with Deputies Scot Nelson and Tanya Walker, entered Jacobs’ apartment at 5:46 a.m. Saturday, they saw Jacobs struggling with a woman in a chair. Kiehn saw a 12-inch knife in Jacobs’ hand and intervened.

“He finally, and quite frankly at great personal risk, approached that situation, reached down, grabbed the female subject and dragged her off the male subject (Jacobs),” Knezovich said.

Kiehn had not pulled his weapon at that point, Knezovich said, and Jacobs took a step toward Kiehn, brandishing the knife. Deputies commanded Jacobs to drop the knife, but he didn’t stop. Kiehn fired twice.

According to Jacobs’ family, the deputy only had his left foot in the door by the time he fired.

“That’s a difference of 18 feet from where my uncle was sitting,” said Jacobs’ niece, Amber Donges, who received the information from family members.

But Knezovich said only 6 feet separated Jacobs and the deputy by the time Kiehn fired shots.

“This is something none of them want to do,” Knezovich said. “You don’t go to work with the intention of ever taking a human life.”

Kiehn, Nelson and Walker have been placed on paid administrative leave.

All three deputies have been interviewed and are awaiting psychological evaluations.

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