January 17, 2014 in City

In brief: Officers shoot man outside shelter

From Staff Reports
 

Police officers shot a man they say was wielding a knife Thursday night behind Truth Ministries in east Spokane.

Chief Frank Straub said a 911 call alerted police that a man was threatening people with a knife inside the shelter at 1910 E. Sprague Ave. When police arrived, he was in the alley behind the shelter.

When officers approached, the man refused to put the knife down after multiple commands, Straub said. Officers used a Taser on the man, but he continued to advance on them and officers fired their guns at him multiple times.

“Officers perceived a threat to themselves and the community,” Straub said.

Medics from the Spokane Fire station across the alley treated the man’s wounds and he was rushed to a local hospital, where his condition was unknown late Thursday night.

The incident occurred about 9 p.m., and roads in the area were closed several hours for investigators to work. The Washington State Patrol will take the lead in investigating the incident, Straub said.

Teacher removed, being investigated

A substitute teacher at Trent Elementary School is under investigation for allegedly putting his hands on students and “other inappropriate things,” the East Valley School District said Thursday.

A sixth-grade student reported that the teacher had “lost control” and was grabbing students, said Assistant Superintendent Tom Gresch. “Our principal immediately went down there and removed the teacher,” Gresch said.

Initial reports are that the teacher smelled of alcohol, was cursing and grabbed at least three students, said Spokane Valley Police Department spokesman Craig Chamberlin. 

“That individual will not be returning to Trent, to that classroom, to our district, period,” Gresch said.

Gresch said that school staff, including substitute teachers and volunteers have to pass background checks. “This is highly unusual behavior,” he said.

U-Hi teen charged with vehicular homicides

A teenage boy was charged Wednesday in juvenile court with two counts of vehicular homicide in connection with a crash that killed two Spokane Valley girls last fall .

Preston Maher, 16, is scheduled for his first court appearance on Feb. 4 in the crash that killed fellow University High School students Josie Freier, 15, and McKenzie Mott, 16.

Maher was identified as the driver of the car that left the roadway along a hilly stretch at the intersection of East Ponderosa Drive and South Bates Road around 9 p.m. on Oct. 5. The three teens left a Spokane Valley house to “take the Ponderosa jump,” Spokane County sheriff’s detectives say. The vehicle swerved before striking a curb going an estimated 70 mph.

Maher faces up to a year per charge, which would be served in a juvenile facility. He is not in custody and is attending classes at University High School.

Spokane County deputy prosecutor Bill Reeves said although parents of the two girls had previously not expressed a desire to bring charges, that “may have changed.” He did not elaborate.

Obama nominates Tri-Cities judge

A Superior Court Judge in the Tri-Cities was nominated Thursday by President Barack Obama for a federal judgeship in the Eastern District of Washington.

Salvador Mendoza Jr. would replace U.S. District Judge Lonny Suko, who has moved into senior status. The appointment must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The nomination was among four announced Thursday by the White House. Federal judges are paid $174,000 a year.

Mendoza was appointed to the Benton and Franklin county bench in April by Gov. Jay Inslee. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and completed his law degree from UCLA in 1997. In addition to having worked as a deputy prosecutor and assistant attorney general, he had focused on criminal defense while in private practice.


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