A man who was fatally shot by officers outside of a Cheney grocery store this week was identified Wednesday as 40-year-old Steve L. Anderson, a father of two.
The Spokane County Medical Examiner ruled Anderson died of “multiple gunshot wounds” after he was shot at by three Cheney police officers Monday night following a confrontation in which police say he was acting erratically outside of Mitchell’s Harvest Foods, at 116 W. First Street. According to police reports, Anderson was holding a knife as he moved toward officers before he was shot.
A pair of news releases sent by the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team say officers from the Cheney and Eastern Washington University police departments arrived at the scene and repeatedly ordered Anderson to drop the knife, a command which he reportedly ignored.
Police say after “failing to follow commands and continuing to advance toward officers with the knife,” three Cheney officers fired their weapons, hitting Anderson multiple times.
Rebecca Pettingill, an Eastern Washington University student who was working at the store at the time, said she heard sounds like firecrackers coming from the front of the store near the entrance. One of the bullets from the officers’ guns pierced the store’s wall and lodged in the ceiling.
Cheney and EWU police do not wear body cameras.
John Wilson, a friend of Anderson’s, set up a GoFundMe campaign for the 40-year-old on Wednesday, which as of Thursday had raised $445 of its $20,000 goal. All of the money, the campaign says, will go toward a memorial service for Anderson. Any remaining funds will go into a savings bond for his two children.
Wilson described Anderson as a “very dear friend” who “always stuck up for the little guy.”
“When you needed someone in your corner, he was there,” Wilson wrote. “A lifelong friend, a brother, a confidant, a strong man that never gave up. Steve Anderson was an inspiration.”
He also described him as “a little rough around the edges.” A search of Anderson’s criminal history shows he had misdemeanor burglary, assault and theft charges on his record, though nothing from this decade.
On Wilson’s Facebook page, he dedicated multiple posts to his friend, who leaves behind a daughter and son.
“I spoke with him just hours before he passed, we were planning a weekend fishing trip,” Wilson wrote. “He seemed in good spirits. That is how I will remember him. I will truly miss Steve.”