April 30, 2014 in City

Man killed by police had violent past

Woman found dead ID’d in court documents as Tracy Fergerstrom
From staff reports
 
Department of Corrections courtesy photo

Jeremy Arnold
(Full-size photo)

The man shot and killed by police Tuesday near the scene of a homicide has a lengthy criminal history and was involved in a water rescue in Pend Oreille County just last week.

Police were originally called to 2512 N. Standard St. just after 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to court documents. A neighbor who frequents the address to borrow a computer reported finding a dead woman in the residence. The Spokane County Medical Examiner identified the woman as Tracy Fergerstrom, 46. An ID card out of Hawaii found at the scene belongs to Fergerstrom.

The witnesses identified the homeowner as 37-year-old Jeremy Arnold, according to court documents. A Jeep in the driveway was registered to Arnold, police said. Spokane Police Department sources confirmed the man who was later shot by police after exiting a blue pickup, reportedly armed, was Arnold.

A video captured by a KXLY cameraman shows the confrontation Tuesday afternoon, which occurred shortly after a news conference about the apparent homicide. Arnold drove through a police barricade over commands to stop from assembled police. He stepped out of the truck holding a silver object that was identified as a firearm by police, who then opened fire, killing him.

The home is registered with the Spokane County Assessor’s Office in the name of Stephanie Arnold. She died last summer after being pulled from the Spokane River in an apparent float trip accident. Jeremy Arnold, her husband, was also floating the river. The couple married in May 2005 during a weeklong furlough from jail for Arnold that turned in to a fugitive hunt.

Kayakers found Stephanie Arnold near the Spokane Valley Mall on July 7. She died later that month.

Last Thursday, Jeremy Arnold called for help at Horseshoe Lake in Pend Oreille County just before 9 p.m. He told Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s deputies that he and his girlfriend, Mandy Waters, and his 2-year-old girl had been in a fishing boat when the boat suddenly took on water and sank. They were able to swim to shore and Arnold left them to call for help. Waters and Arnold’s daughter were located unharmed several hours later.

Spokane police visited the home Monday night on a welfare check for Waters. Waters’ friend called police saying she hadn’t heard from her in awhile. A police officer drove by around 6 p.m. and saw Arnold, as well as a woman he identified as Fergerstrom, standing in the home’s front yard, along with several children.

Arnold has a lengthy and violent criminal history. His juvenile record includes convictions for theft, burglary, escape and attempting to elude police. After he turned 18 in 1995 he was convicted in federal court of distributing cocaine and carrying a firearm during a drug sale. According to previous news stories, he was released from prison in September 2004.

In October 2004 he participated in a violent home invasion robbery as a lookout, according to court documents. Three children were inside at the time, and he allegedly tried to stop the burglary once it was discovered children were inside. He was implicated in a drive-by shooting the next month, and in December his former girlfriend, a witness to the drive-by shooting, filed a restraining order against him. According to a news story, Arnold threatened the woman before he left the courtroom, violating the order before the ink dried.

“I better not get charged with anything, or else,” the woman told police Arnold said as he left the courtroom.

Arnold was facing multiple charges in all those cases in May 2005 when he was released from jail on a week-long furlough to get married just before he was to be sentenced to eight years in prison. According to news reports at the time, Arnold cut off his ankle monitoring device and was on the lam for another week before being caught.

A judge threw out his plea deal, and Arnold was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for five counts of burglary, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and three counts of intimidating a witness.

Arnold was released from prison in June 2011, according to court records. He was released to the address where the homicide occurred, according to court records.

In 2012, Arnold’s criminal history resumed. In addition to two driving under the influence arrests, that year he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for assault and six months in jail for domestic violence-riot. He had appeared in court as recently as last week after court officials said he wasn’t paying ordered restitution in the cases.

Police discovered surveillance equipment at the residence that was running, according to court documents. Neighbors said the house received a lot of foot traffic. Discovered at the scene yesterday were multiple articles of clothing stained with blood, as well as a pink folding knife, according to court documents. Bloody tennis shoes that are believed to belong to Arnold were also found inside the home.

Fergerstrom died of multiple stab wounds, the Medical Examiner said. Her death was listed as a homicide.

Officers who shot Arnold on Tuesday asked him to stop and get out of the car, according to a witness. Video captured by the KXLY photographer shows Arnold point the apparent gun at officers, who open fire within seconds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A neighbor told police Arnold showed him a black semiautomatic pistol he owned. Arnold told the neighbor he owned blank rounds for the gun and that fi the neighbor heard loud noises, not to worry, according to court documents.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into the officer-involved shooting. It is the fifth such shooting this year. Tuesday’s shooting was the third fatal incident.

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