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Spokane

Suspected auto thief dies after shootout with Spokane police

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 8, 2015, 3:58 p.m.

Spokane police on the scene of shooting near the corner of Sanson Avenue and Standard Street, Aug 8, 2015. A suspected auto thief was shot by police after firing on officers during a standoff.  (Dan Pelle)
Spokane police on the scene of shooting near the corner of Sanson Avenue and Standard Street, Aug 8, 2015. A suspected auto thief was shot by police after firing on officers during a standoff. (Dan Pelle)

A suspected auto thief was shot today after opening fire on officers during a standoff outside of a north Spokane home.

The man later died of his injuries as a local hospital. His identity will be released by the Spokane County Medical Examiner after an autopsy has been completed.

Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said the suspect was linked to an auto theft earlier this week and was spotted by officers this morning. The officers followed him to a home at 616 E. Sanson Ave. at about 10:30 a.m., leading to an hourlong standoff.

Numerous residents heard the commotion and saw events unfold. The incident was also recorded by KHQ.

Neighbor Fonda Hoyt said she heard police calling for the man to come out after they had surrounded the home. She heard gunshots that Straub later said were fired by the suspect at police, then saw the police department’s armored personnel carrier come speeding around the corner, smashing through police tape and barricades.

“They just barreled over them with that truck,” she said.

Two minutes after the initial gunshots the man came outside, Straub said. “As he ran out the front door, he began firing on officers,” he said.

Several officers returned fire. Witnesses said they saw officers performing CPR on the man before he was taken away in an ambulance.

Hoyt said she saw the man running and then fall to the ground. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.

Witnesses said they saw a woman wearing a purple tank top standing just outside the police tape who took off running toward the house as gunfire erupted and had to be tackled and restrained by police.

In addition to his suspected links to a recent auto theft, Straub said, the man had numerous prior criminal convictions. He was also wanted on a federal warrant for a probation violation on firearms charges.

Straub said he did not know if any of the officers at the scene were wearing body cameras.

The shooting is being investigated by the Spokane Investigative Regional Response team with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office taking the lead investigative role.



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