The suspected gunman in last week’s shooting at a reputed drug house in east Spokane may have been seeking revenge for his brother’s apparent fatal overdose earlier in the day, authorities said.
William G. Anderson, 39, appeared in Superior Court Judge James Triplet’s courtroom Tuesday via video conference from jail, where he was charged with first-degree assault with a firearm.
In an interview at the jail Tuesday evening, Anderson said he went to the home at 1607 E. Pacific Ave. on Friday night to pay respects to his brother, Jared Anderson, 23, who was found dead in front of the house early that day. He said he brought flowers and sat there for hours before someone started shooting and they all left.
“Someone said I did it,” he said. “I don’t have a gun; I never fired a gun. It’s hearsay.”
The medical examiner’s office said Jared Anderson’s death was not suspicious and the cause of death is pending toxicology reports, according to court documents.
William Anderson said his brother had been using heroin.
Police interviewed Sheri E. Anderson, 31, their sister, hours after Jared’s body was found, court documents say. She said the residents of the home were responsible for Jared’s death. Jared had been despondent since the death of their mother a little more than a year ago, she told police, and her younger brother had threatened to kill himself the evening before he died.
Sheri Anderson organized a candlelight vigil for her brother outside the house, and several participants had been drinking alcohol, the documents say.
One of the residents of the home, Freddie Thompson, said Anderson, her brother and two other men went to the home on Pacific to confront the residents, the documents say. They accused Thompson and other residents of the house of supplying the drugs that killed Jared and threatened to kill whoever gave them to him, the documents say.
Thompson told investigators the group pounded on the front door and demanded Thompson open the door, but he told them to go away. The group continued to pound on the front door and then began pounding on windows and the back door, he said in the documents. When one of them tried to kick in the door, Jeremy P. Lambert, 35, went to the back door and braced himself against it to prevent it from opening, court documents say.
At least four .22-caliber bullets hit the door, and Lambert was hit in the chest, authorities said. The wound was not life-threatening.
“I didn’t even take a knife over there,” William Anderson said.
Two witnesses told police they visited Sheri and William Anderson on Saturday afternoon, and William said, “We can’t bring (Jared) back. The problem was being taken care of,” according to court documents. One of them, Jared’s girlfriend, was upset and wanted to visit the place where he was found. When they stepped out onto the front porch with William Anderson, court documents say, the two heard him say, “I shot him.”
Anderson said police only have the word of the two witnesses, and he “was not the only person there.”
“I’m innocent,” he said. “I didn’t do nothing.”
Police served a search warrant at William and Sheri Anderson’s home Monday. They found a .45 caliber pistol, a 9 mm pistol and numerous cartridges, including .22-caliber cartridges, court documents say. During a search of Sheri Anderson’s vehicle, police found two boxes of .22-caliber cartridges.
Sheri Anderson said she drove William Anderson and another man to the vigil Friday night and drove them home around 9 p.m. She told police she didn’t know about the shooting until she heard it on the news, the documents say.
In court Tuesday, William Anderson said he didn’t really understand his rights, including listening to witnesses during his trial. Anderson would have the right to hear what witnesses were saying against him when he was in trial, but this was just a hearing to determine probable cause and set bond, the judge said.
“Who said all this stuff that was on the police report?” Anderson asked Triplet.
Prosecutors asked Triplet to set Anderson’s bond at $200,000, while the defense argued Anderson should be released on his own recognizance, stating there was no physical evidence against Anderson.
While agreeing Anderson’s flight risk was low, Triplet expressed concern Anderson may interfere with the investigation by trying to contact witnesses.
Triplet set bond at $100,000. Anderson will be arraigned March 19.
Anderson said he hoped he could have been released to help his sister make funeral arrangements. He said he was mourning his brother on his birthday, which was Saturday.
“Something bad happened that night and I don’t know who did it,” he said. “They need to do something about that house.”