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Second suspect arrested in connection with shooting death of former Spokane Empire star

UPDATED: Sat., Jan. 13, 2018, 9:42 p.m.

Payton J. Bradford (Arkansas Community Corrections)
Payton J. Bradford (Arkansas Community Corrections)

Spokane police have arrested a second suspect in connection with the Oct. 8 shooting death of former Spokane Empire football star Carl Sims.

Two months after Ricky L. Tanner’s charges were upgraded to first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Sims in downtown Spokane, a second suspect, Payton J. Bradford, was arrested Friday on suspicion of second-degree murder and obstruction.

Bradford, 26, was booked into Spokane County Jail on Friday, KHQ confirmed. He is expected to be formally charged at his first court appearance Tuesday.

Details of Bradford’s alleged involvement have not been released.

According to the state of Arkansas corrections website, Bradford, an Arkansas native, fled the state following a 2015 theft charge to which he pleaded guilty.

On May 9, 2017, Bradford was arrested in Spokane on a fugitive from justice charge. An order of dismissal on that charge was filed May 22.

Tanner, 25, allegedly pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Sims, a 31-year-old Milwaukee native who was second all-time in Indoor Football League career receiving yards (5,046) and third all-time in touchdown receptions (111).

After a scuffle between Tanner and Sims at Lucky’s Irish Pub, 408 W. Sprague Ave., spilled outside, according to police, Tanner allegedly shot Sims in the leg and fled. Sims died from the wound the next day.

Tanner, who has a history of gun-related violence in Spokane that includes involvement in a gang-related drive-by shooting in 2015, initially was charged with second-degree murder. He is being held on $1 million bail, and his criminal trial is set to begin April 23.