Investigators: Suspects stole car, were in motel
An early morning standoff Tuesday between two wanted fugitives from Montana and a SWAT team at a Spokane Valley motel ended with an armed woman shot in the hand, investigators said.
Bonnie Ulrick, 37, pointed a pistol at police surrounding a first-floor room at the Motel 6 located at 1919 N. Hutchinson Road around 5:30 a.m., the Washington State Patrol said. The WSP is leading the investigation into the officer-involved shooting, the third in Spokane in 2014.
Ulrick’s injuries are considered non-life-threatening. She was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment, according to the WSP. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office will release the names of the deputies involved in the shooting. The WSP said Ulrick was shot by members of the sheriff’s SWAT team.
Deputies first arrived at the motel shortly after midnight on a report of a stolen vehicle, according to a news release. Ulrick and Eric Heil, 32, were identified as the drivers of the vehicle, and deputies were told they were armed. The pair ignored loudspeaker commands to leave the motel room, according to the news release. At some point, they barricaded themselves inside with a mattress that was still propped against the room’s window frame later Tuesday morning.
“Negotiators were having conversations and trying to get them out peacefully, which was the intent,” Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Mark Gregory said.
Hostage negotiators contacted the pair on the phone around 2 a.m., and a little more than three hours of conversation followed before the shooting, according to the WSP.
Investigators shut down Hutchinson Road south from East Knox Avenue, blocking access to Spokane Valley High School just as classes were about to begin. The West Valley School District decided to cancel classes at the alternative high school, which has an enrollment of about 240 students, early Tuesday. Parents will receive an informational letter about the closure later in the week, the district said.
Ulrick and Heil each had outstanding felony warrants for their arrest in Montana, according to the WSP. Heil was booked into Spokane County Jail as a fugitive shortly after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to jail records.
It is the third time the Spokane Investigative Regional Response team has been called in to investigate a law enforcement-involved shooting this year.
Aaron Johnson, 29, was shot by two Spokane police officers outside Truth Ministries on Jan. 16 after investigators said he threatened occupants and workers with a knife and a piece of lumber. Johnson faces a second-degree assault charge, though he has yet to appear in court because he is receiving medical treatment at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Six Spokane County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Jed Zillmer, 23, on Feb. 11. Zillmer, an Afghanistan War veteran, led deputies on a high-speed chase and threatened to shoot civilians, if they did not shoot him first, according to dispatch recordings released last week.
Investigative materials in officer-involved shootings are forwarded to the Spokane County prosecuting attorney’s office. The office determines whether to file criminal charges based on those findings.
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