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Alleged driver arrested in drive-by shooting

Fri., Aug. 1, 2014

A man suspected of committing a drive-by shooting in East Central Spokane last year is behind bars thanks to a phone tapped by police in an unrelated case.

Ronnie T. Simms, 57, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of attempted murder. His alleged accomplice, Robert L. Rushing, has a warrant out for his arrest on charges of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The shooting was reported in the area of Third Avenue and Fiske Street on Oct. 21, 2013. Witnesses said they saw a silver Mercedes driving away after hearing gunshots, according to court documents. Police found and stopped the Mercedes, which had several bullet holes in it.

A confidential informant told police that Simms and Rushing had targeted the driver of the Mercedes because he had fired several shots at Rushing at a different location earlier that day, court documents say. Simms allegedly was driving a Cadillac while Rushing shot at the Mercedes, according to court documents.

At the time of the shooting the Spokane Violent Crime Gang Enforcement Team was investigating Deandre S. Gaither for the manufacture and distribution of drugs and had tapped his phone. Rushing allegedly called Gaither and talked about the shooting in a call recorded by police.

Gaither was one of 39 people in four states indicted in federal court in March for their alleged roles in a drug distribution ring.

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