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In brief: Officers in Truth Ministries shooting identified

Spokane police have released the name of four officers involved in the shooting last week of Aaron D. Johnson outside the Truth Ministries shelter.

The four officers who responded are Officer Holton Widhalm, a six-year veteran of the Spokane Police Department; Officer Michael Schneider, also with six years at the department; Officer Christopher Conrath, a three-year veteran; and Sgt. Terry Preuninger, a 21-year veteran.

Preuninger was involved in an on-duty shooting in 1994 that was ruled justified by the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office.

Officers responded Thursday to a report that a man was threatening people with a knife at the shelter, police said last week.

They found Johnson, 29, in an alley behind the shelter. He refused commands to drop the knife and advanced on officers, police said.

Two officers fired guns, according to police. Washington State Patrol spokesman Trooper Jeff Sevigney said its detectives, who are leading the investigation, are not yet ready to identify which officers fired.

Johnson has been moved to Spokane County Jail from the hospital and is being held on a charge of second-degree assault.

In 2013, Johnson was sentenced to 364 days in jail and 24 months probation for two counts of fourth-degree assault as well as eight months in jail with credit given for 247 days served after he pleaded guilty to domestic violence-riot.

Staff reports

UI’s Burnett urges employee raises

BOISE – A University of Idaho leader lamented lagging pay at his school and urged the Legislature’s budget writers to give state employees a 2 percent raise recommended earlier this year by a panel focusing on compensation.

Interim UI President Don Burnett told Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee members that pay for the Moscow school’s faculty has fallen compared to peer institutions.

In 2007, for instance, compensation at the University of Idaho was estimated at 92 percent that of schools elsewhere.

That figure is forecast to fall to 84 percent this year, Burnett said.

The UI competes with better-paying employers to replace about 14 percent of its workforce annually, Burnett said.

The Legislature’s 18-member compensation committee recently recommended a 2 percent pay boost for state workers.

Associated Press


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