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Scuffle for pot led to fatal shooting

THURSDAY, AUG. 14, 2014

Victim planned to steal drugs, witnesses say

A plan to rob a drug dealer of five pounds of marijuana ended in a Spokane man’s shooting death in a hotel parking lot early Sunday, witnesses said.

Richard Amodio, 32, arrived at the Howard Johnson hotel on North Division shortly after midnight Sunday with the intention to steal another man’s backpack full of pot, witnesses told investigators. Instead, the man pulled a weapon and opened fire, killing Amodio and sending 25-year-old Stanley Tensley sprinting from the scene, according to police.

The shooter remains at large.

Police arrested Tensley late Tuesday on suspicion of conspiring to commit robbery. Police first arrested Joshua R. Smith in connection with the crime. Smith later told police he had arranged the sale and heard gunfire but did not see who fired the shots that killed Amodio, according to court records.

Police released Smith Monday and dropped charges against him.

Surveillance video shows Amodio and Tensley meeting with a man carrying a black backpack. Amodio is seen punching the man with the backpack, knocking him to the ground, according to court documents. Tensley, known by the street name “Brutus,” joins in the beating, documents indicate.

The man with the backpack was able to get up and waved what appeared to be a gun, according to officers’ statements in court documents. Amodio and Tensley ran away in the midst of muzzle flashes captured on the camera, according to investigators. Amodio fell to the ground and Tensley escaped. The shooter retrieved the backpack and left the scene. Smith said he saw Tensley and the marijuana supplier leaving the area after he heard three gunshots.

Two 9mm shell casings were found at the scene of the shooting, according to court documents. An autopsy showed Amodio died from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso.

Tensley was taken into custody without incident by police just after 11 p.m. Tuesday, according to a news release.

Police are still looking for the shooter. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

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