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Spokane County deputy kills driver who attempted to run him over in East Central

UPDATED: Wed., July 25, 2018, 9:21 p.m.

A Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man as he attempted to run the deputy over early Wednesday morning.

The deputy had been chasing the man, who was driving a van about 2 a.m. with a reportedly injured woman in the passenger seat, when he rammed the deputy’s patrol car near where Hills Court dead-ends in the East Central Neighborhood, said Deputy Mark Gregory, sheriff’s spokesman.

When the deputy exited his car, the van’s driver attempted to run him over, Gregory said. The deputy fired, striking and killing the driver.

The shooting happened a little after 2:05 a.m., according to police scanner traffic. At 2:10 a.m., a man said on the scanner that he had a “male in cuffs” who needed medical help. Another man said the female passenger was out of the vehicle, that she wasn’t struck by bullets, but had possible broken bones, citing the driver of the van as the culprit.

Laura Muir and her husband Jason McKee, who live in front of the area where the shooting took place, were both awake when the van sped down the dirt road, kicked up a plume of dust, turned around and was rammed by a deputy’s vehicle.

Muir, who was out on her back porch, said she could hear the deputy leave his vehicle and shout, “Put ’em up! Put ’em up! Put ’em up!” before shooting six rounds from his weapon.

“I heard, like, a shot that went close to where I was sitting,” Muir said. “So I went inside.”

McKee was downstairs when the shots rang out. He said initially, it sounded as though the gunfire was coming from a group of trees outside the back of their home.

Once inside, Muir said she looked out the window and saw multiple deputies outside her house. Some were putting handcuffs on the man who had been driving the van.

His passenger, a woman, appeared frantic.

“She looked really frazzled and really shook up,” Muir said.

Laura Hunt, who lives on 11th Avenue on a small bluff overlooking Hills Court, said she was startled awake at about 2:30 a.m. by the sirens of multiple police cars. She said when she looked outside, she counted at least 25 vehicles.

“I opened my eyes and there were lights all in my room,” she said. “I got up and I went out on my back porch and they had some huge thing down there. A SWAT thing. It was huge. And the whole neighborhood down there was lit up.”

Other neighbors reported a similar police presence that lasted several hours.

Pavel Shevchenko, whose family is building a home on the edge of Hills Court near Underhill Park, said that after seeing news of the shooting on Facebook, he went to the property around 7 a.m., where he could see the deputy’s damaged vehicle right outside of his home. He said the left side of the front bumper was clearly damaged, and behind it was a white unmarked van, possibly early 1990s, that looked like a Plymouth Voyager.

Gregory said the incident began just prior to 2 a.m., when a deputy responded to a 911 call from a local convenience store after a caller reported seeing a woman who appeared to have been badly injured asking for help before getting into a van driven by a man.

Deputies located the vehicle near Hartson Avenue and Thor Street. When they attempted to make a traffic stop, deputies said the driver sped away and continued south on Thor before turning west on Hills Court.

Gregory said as the driver approached the dead end of Hills Court, he turned the vehicle around and rammed it into the deputy’s patrol car. After the deputy exited and gave commands to stop, the driver accelerated toward the deputy, who fired his weapon, striking the driver.

Following the shooting, lifesaving measures were performed and medical personnel were brought in. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman was given medical attention before being transported to a local hospital for treatment for wounds she sustained before the shooting, deputies said. She was not hit by gunfire.

Gregory said neither the deputy nor other citizens were injured. The suspect has not yet been identified. A manner and cause of death will be released by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team, comprised of multiple area law enforcement agencies, will take over the investigation.

This the second officer-involved shooting this year, both including sheriff’s deputies.

In March, Spokane police and sheriff’s deputies shot a man in Hillyard while attempting to perform an eviction.

Officers said the man reached for a rifle while sitting on his couch, despite verbal commands to stop. He was wounded and later charged with second-degree assault.