Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Jerad Kiehn was justified in shooting a Spokane Valley man wielding a knife in June, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Kiehn fired twice on Roy Jacobs Jr., 48, after he and two other deputies responded to a call of a domestic dispute in the early morning hours of June 1. Jacobs called 911 twice earlier that night from the apartment near the 4100 block of North McDonald Road to report he needed to be arrested on an outstanding warrant. Family said Jacobs was heavily intoxicated.
A man can be heard saying “Put the knife away” in the background of one of the 911 calls.
When deputies Kiehn, Scot Nelson and Tanya Walker entered Jacobs’ apartment at 5:46 a.m., they saw Jacobs sitting in a chair, a woman attempting to wrestle a knife from his hands, Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.
“The deputies put their own safety at risk trying to pull her off of him,” Chamberlin said.
Jacobs then stood and began walking toward Kiehn, brandishing the 12-inch knife. Deputies commanded Jacobs to drop the knife, but he refused and continued to approach. Kiehn shot Jacobs twice in the stomach when he was a few feet from him.
After reviewing an investigation led by the Spokane Police Department, Spokane County prosecutors ruled the shooting justified.
Jacobs’ family has disputed authorities’ account of the shooting. They have said the knife was a collectible and the intoxicated Jacobs was not a threat at the time he was shot. The family’s lawyer, Sim Osborn, did not respond to an interview request on Thursday.
Osborn also represented the family of Spokane Valley pastor Scott Creach, who was shot and killed by Deputy Brian Hirzel on Aug. 25, 2010. The Creach family received a $2 million settlement in that case, and Hirzel was cleared of any charges by prosecutors.
Chamberlin said it’s usually impossible for a sheriff’s deputy to shoot at an approaching suspect using non-lethal force. Deputies are instructed to shoot the largest area of a suspect in order to stop a threat, usually the body, he said.
It’s unrealistic when threatened to expect a deputy to shoot a suspect’s weapon from their hands or to shoot them in the leg or arm, Chamberlin said.
“That is what they can do in Hollywood with a controlled environment,” Chamberlin said. “In real life, that’s not even an option.”