Local news

Two shootings leave two men dead

Spokane police investigate a fatal shooting on West Grace Avenue on Thursday morning in Spokane. Officers were led from this scene to Nine Mile Falls, where they shot and killed the man believed to be the suspect in the first shooting. (Dan Pelle)
Spokane police investigate a fatal shooting on West Grace Avenue on Thursday morning in Spokane. Officers were led from this scene to Nine Mile Falls, where they shot and killed the man believed to be the suspect in the first shooting. (Dan Pelle)

Police kill suspect they say wouldn’t surrender

Spokane police officers tracked a homicide suspect to a Nine Mile Falls home where they shot and killed him early Thursday morning.

Police believe the suspect killed a man early Thursday morning in Spokane.

The Spokane County medical examiner’s office said the first victim, Cyrus C. Jones, 33, died of multiple gunshot wounds after he was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Police initially were responding to reports of a pedestrian hit by a car at 1428 W. Grace Ave. about 1:30 a.m. However, witnesses told officers they heard shots, Spokane police Chief Frank Straub said at a news conference.

Witnesses saw a truck flee the scene and gave its description to officers. Those details led officers to the 22000 block of West Charles Road within 45 minutes. They found the vehicle outside the home.

Officers called for backup and established a perimeter around the home, Straub said. As officers waited, the suspect came out of the home and turned off the lights, he said.

Police confronted the suspect, but he ignored their commands, Straub said. Officers shot and killed the suspect, who police did not identify but family members confirmed on social media was Justin Cairns.

Straub did not identify the officers involved or specify what their commands to Cairns were.

Police found two weapons at the Nine Mile Falls scene, a .380-caliber handgun and a pellet gun that resembled an actual firearm, Straub said. Two .380 bullet casings were found at the homicide scene on West Grace Avenue.

Straub initiated the department’s critical incident protocol, which calls for another agency to investigate the officer-involved shooting.

The homicide on West Grace, however, will be investigated by major crimes detectives from the city.

Although the suspect was found in Spokane County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, Straub said, “This is our homicide.”

They had good leads from witnesses and were “not going to waste time” before finding the suspect, he said.

“I compliment the bravery of our officers for their quick response” in tracking the suspect in the homicide on West Grace.

The involved officers have been placed on leave and the department is making a psychologist available to them, Straub said.

Straub said the first shooting was not gang-related, but he would not comment on whether the initial confrontation was drug-related.

Neighbors said there is commotion at the West Grace house about once a week, and about 10 cars are parked outside the home at any given time.

“There’s kids there all the time,” said Katie Wardall, a neighbor. She had never seen gunfire at the home before, however.

Another neighbor, who asked to only be identified as David, said several people live at the home and it gets a lot of foot traffic.

Both neighbors said they saw two women standing nearby, crying hysterically after the shooting.

A sign on the home’s front door demands that anyone knock and ring the doorbell before entering – even those who live there.

The home is near Audubon Elementary School. Officers cleaned up the scene of the shooting before neighborhood kids walked to school.

The incident is the second officer-involved shooting since Straub became police chief in October.

On Feb. 5, police shot and killed Jacob I. Dorfman, 52, after he led officers on a chaotic chase through a South Hill neighborhood. Dorfman had previous arrests for assaulting and eluding law enforcement officers. Police have not released a full report on that incident.

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