June 18, 2014 in City

In brief: Deputy prosecutor placed on administrative leave

 

A Spokane County deputy prosecuting attorney has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a criminal investigation by the FBI, county officials said Tuesday.

Marriya Wright was placed on paid leave on April 21, said Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, county spokeswoman.

She declined to provide any other information about the investigation.

Frank Harrill, FBI special agent in Spokane, declined to comment about the ongoing investigation.

Wright is eligible to remain on the county payroll because of a collective bargaining agreement that protects her rights as an employee absent any finding of wrongdoing, Wheatley-Billeter said.

The county will not take any disciplinary action against Wright during the FBI probe, Wheatley-Billeter said. Instead, the county will await the outcome of the investigation before moving to bring disciplinary action or to reinstate her, she said.

Memorial set for soldier killed in Afghanistan

A memorial service for Cpl. Justin Clouse, of Sprague, Washington, will be held Saturday in Spokane.

The service will take place at 9 a.m. at Life Center Foursquare Church, 1202 N. Government Way.

Clouse joined the U.S. Army after graduating from Sprague High School in 2010. He was killed on his second tour in Afghanistan during a U.S. airstrike on June 8.

Clouse was one of five soldiers killed by friendly fire after a special operations unit was ambushed by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.

Fire Department will continue using SUVs

The Spokane Fire Department will continue sending SUVs – instead of firetrucks – to some medical calls at least until early 2016.

Late last year, the city began a six-month trial to send Alternative Response Units in SUVs to some nonemergency calls. The units are stationed downtown at Stations 1 and 4 and at Station 2, 1001 E. North Foothills Drive.

Each unit is staffed with a single firefighter. Two are paramedics able to provide advanced life support. One is driven by an EMT. The units are on duty from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

During the trial, the three units responded to more than 1,000 calls, said Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer. “We had very good results,” Schaeffer said.

Use of the SUVs allows the fire engines to remain available for major medical emergencies or fires. The cost per mile to operate the SUVs is much less than a full-sized engine, Schaeffer said.

Colville business leader named to EWU trustees

Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed the chairman of the Colville Business Council to the Eastern Washington University board of trustees.

Michael Finley, who is serving his fourth year leading the elected body of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, was informed this week that he was chosen to take the seat of trustee Mark Mays, who died earlier this year. Finley’s term will expire in 2015.

Finley, 35, who was born and raised in Inchelium, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from EWU.

“I come from humble roots. It was even difficult to even make it to Eastern,” Finley said Tuesday. “The environment of Eastern allowed me to grow and realize my full potential. I want to give back to the university that helped me realize my potential.”

Finley, who is the first vice president of the National Congress of American Indians, received the Cecil Dryden Alumni Award from EWU’s history department in 2011. He co-authored the book “Finding Chief Kamiakin, the Life and Legacy of a Northwest Patriot.”

No charges recommended for officers in shooting

Investigators are recommending that no charges be filed against the Spokane police officers who shot a man who rammed through a police barricade and pointed a gun at officers.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office led the investigation into the shooting of Jeremy Arnold and has forwarded its investigation and recommendation to prosecutors, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin.

Arnold was a suspect in a fatal stabbing and returned to the crime scene at 2512 N. Standard St. on April 29 while police and media were still there. He rammed through a police barricade with his truck and video shot by a KXLY cameraman showed Arnold exiting his truck with a gun pointed at officers. Investigators later determined that Arnold was holding a pellet gun when he was shot and killed.

Spokane Police Sgt. John Gately, Detective Neil Gallion and Officer Jay Kernkamp have been identified as the officers involved in the shooting.

Post Falls mobile home fire leaves man dead

A 61-year-old man died Tuesday morning after a mobile home fire in Post Falls.

Kootenai County Fire and Rescue Chief Warren Merritt said emergency responders took the man to Kootenai Health, where he died of smoke inhalation. Crews were called to 3250 W. Echo Drive around 12:30 a.m.

The fire does not appear to be suspicious, but the cause is still under investigation.

The mobile home did not have a smoke detector, Deputy Chief Aaron Jones said.

Crews from Northern Lakes and Hauser Lake fire departments were called to the scene.

ISP names officers involved in shooting

The Idaho State Police on Tuesday released the names of three Coeur d’Alene police officers involved in the  June 6 shooting death of a Coeur d’Alene man who allegedly fired at police.

Sgt. Greg Moore, Officer Johann Schmitz and Officer Jacob Nielsen have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, according to an ISP news release.

The officers were called to a domestic disturbance complaint on the 400 block of East Dragonfly Drive, where they found Thomas White, 28, of Coeur d’Alene, in a next-door neighbor’s backyard. Initial police reports claimed White was armed and ignored repeated demands from the officers to drop his weapon.

White pointed a gun at the officers and exchanged gunfire with them, according to police. White was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

Moore is a 15-year veteran in the department. Schmitz has served two years. Nelson has served 1 1/2 years.

Spokane Fire Department crews found flames coming out of the windows of a home at 2321 E. Sixth Ave. when they arrived a few minutes after midnight Tuesday morning.

The fire destroyed most of the interior of the home including all the contents, according to a press release from Battalion Chief Bob Green. No one was at home at the time of the fire.

Damage was estimated at $80,000. The cause is under investigation.

County property records say the property is owned by Jim Red.


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