September 3, 2013 in City

Suspect in pawn shop standoff pleads not guilty

From staff reports

The 26-year-old man accused of sparking a police standoff at an East Central pawn shop last month pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree robbery Tuesday.

Investigators say Jonathan Johnson hurdled the sales counter, grabbed a shotgun and began firing into the air at Double Eagle Pawn, 3030 E. Sprague Ave., around 10:30 a.m. Aug. 23. About 20 people were inside the store when shots were fired, witnesses said. Sales staff helped most customers out of the shop, but armed employees confronted the gunman to clear an exit for four people trapped in the building, witnesses said.

Multiple witnesses reported hearing Johnson ramble about President Barack Obama before and during the incident. A brother, Dennis Johnson, said his sibling has problems with heroin addiction.

Prosecutors are charging Johnson with first-degree robbery because he allegedly used the shotgun to scare off customers and employees, then grabbed more firearms, including a revolver and several rifles, according to investigators. Johnson, who told the court he’s been splitting time in Seattle and Spokane in recent years, has no prior felony convictions. He is being held in the Spokane County Jail on $50,000 bond.

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