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Two arrested after high-speed chase

Two young people in a stolen car led a sheriff's deputy on a high-speed chase in Spokane Valley on Thursday.

Jordy Scott DeBoer, 20, and Nicole Dawn Singer, 23, were in a green Honda Accord when Deputy Brian Hirzel tried to stop it near North Pines Road and East Valleyway Avenue.

The driver, identified by police as DeBoer, fled at speeds of about 70 mph in the 35 mph zone, driving through residential area, blowing through stop signs and red lights, straddling lanes and cutting through grocery store parking lots.

Deputies Damon Simmons, Scott Bonney and Jason Karntiz helped Hirzel in the pursuit.

DeBoer nearly struck several vehicles, deputies say. Hirzel ended the search because of public safety concerns; a Washington State Patrol trooper later located the suspects and they admitted to fleeing Hirzel.

“Singer admitted to Deputy Hirzel she told DeBoer to 'go, baby, go' when he attempted to stop them,” according to court documents.

The Honda was stolen early that morning or late the night before from a home in the 1300 bock of North McDonald Road.
  

Tip helps identify fuel theft suspects

Photos of two vehicles suspected in a series of fuel thefts led police to identify three suspects, officials said today.

Richard William Tennant, 24, (pictured) faces 17 felony charges for thefts in Spokane and Adams counties in which $5,000 in fuel was purchased using gas cards stolen from the Central Valley School District and a Spokane Valley company, according to police.
 
Surveillance photos were released last week showing a green Dodge pickup and a white Chevrolet or GMC Suburban prompted a citizen to report the pickup's location to Spokane police. 
 
Police say the truck's owner, Jacob Anthony Lorenzo, 38, tried to disguise the pickup by painting the silver door green and changing its wheels and tires. He faces a single count of first-degree trafficking stolen property, three counts of third-degree theft and one count of possession of stolen property.  
 
Suspect Sasha Stanton, 27, also faces three counts of first-degree trafficking stolen property, three counts of third-degree theft and one count of second-degree possession of stolen property. 
 
Police also located the white SUV, which was searched along with the truck and two homes. Police found evidence linking the suspects to the thefts and are asking for help locating Tennant, who faces four counts of first-degree trafficking stolen property, one count of first-degree theft, five counts of second-degree possession of stolen property, two counts of second-degree burglary and five counts of second-degree vehicle prowling. He also has a warrant in Idaho. Anyone with information on his location should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
 
Neither Lorenzo or Stanton have been arrested, but their whereabouts are known. 
 
The case was investigated by Spokane County sheriff's Deputy Brian Hirzel.

Creach family seeks $15mil from county

The family of slain Spokane Valley pastor Wayne Scott Creach has filed a $14.7 million wrongful death claim against Spokane County, which is the first step in filing a civil lawsuit.

“A jury may come in and feel highly aggravated at what happened,” said the pastor’s son, Alan Creach. “They may award a very large sum.”

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who is on vacation, said Tuesday that he knows the claim has been filed. “Since it’s gone into the lawsuit phase, I don’t have any comments, per our legal advice.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Deputy cleared in pastor’s fatal shooting

The Spokane County sheriff’s deputy who shot a 74-year-old Spokane Valley pastor last year will face no disciplinary action over the fatal encounter.

Deputy Brian Hirzel followed all departmental policies and procedures during the Aug. 25 encounter with Wayne Scott Creach (pictured), Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Wednesday in announcing the results of his internal investigation. He met with members of the Creach family earlier in the day to advise them of the findings.

“This was a very tragic situation. I’m saddened for the community. I’m saddened for the Creach family. I’m saddened for law enforcement,” Knezovich said. “But it came down to a matter of choices. For Deputy Hirzel, when (Creach) reached for that weapon, he was faced with a deadly threat.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 30: Sheriff drops the wait for police shooting interviews

No Discipline In Valley Pastor Killing

The deputy who shot a 74-year-old Spokane Valley pastor will face no disciplinary action over the fatal encounter. Deputy Brian Hirzel (of Hayden) properly followed all departmental policies and procedures during the fatal Aug. 25 encounter with Wayne Scott Creach, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said today in announcing the results of his internal investigation. He met with members of the Creach family earlier in the day to advise them of the findings as well. The decision disappointed the Creach family. In an e-mail prior to his briefing with the sheriff, Alan Creach — the pastor’s son — again called for the sheriff to stop using unmarked cars on private property, a point of contention that family members believe contributed to the fatal encounter/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here.

Question: Are you surprised by the decision?

Clark: Tucker Right In Creach Case

So the verdict is finally in. Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker will NOT charge the sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed an elderly Spokane Valley pastor last August. Is it just me, or was Tucker’s Friday announcement the least surprising local news development since the street department’s admission that Spokane has a pothole problem? Seriously. Did anyone actually think that Tucker would ever take this cop case to a jury? I’ll tell you what is positively shocking, though. Now, I’ve shared my rather low regard for Tucker more than a time or two. (Insert golf-obsessed prosecutor joke here.) That said … I believe Tucker made the unavoidable and legally correct conclusion/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Clark that Prosecutor Steve Tucker made the right call in deciding not to prosecute Deputy Brian Hirzel of Hayden in the shooting of Pastor Wayne Scott Creach?

Hirzel, Creach decision will be next week

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker will announce next week whether Deputy Brian Hirzel will face criminal charges for shooting Pastor Wayne Scott Creach on Aug. 25 in Spokane Valley.

Spokane Police Department investigators met Tuesday to discuss the findings of a private investigator hired by the Creach family.

“In consideration of that meeting and whether there will be any ramifications for the criminal investigation, (Tucker) has decided to wait until next week to release the results of the investigation conducted by his office,” according to a news release by Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, Spokane County spokeswoman.

Tucker close to decision in Creach case

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker said Friday that he is close to making a decision on whether Deputy Brian Hirzel will face criminal charges for shooting Pastor Wayne Scott Creach on Aug. 25 in Spokane Valley. 

Tucker said Chief Deputy Criminal Prosecutor Jack Driscoll needs to review the report with Spokane Police Detective Brian Hamond early next week before handing it over for Tucker’s review.

“Also, I understand that SPD investigators are meeting on Tuesday to consider if any of the private investigators’ information has criminal/civil implications and needs further investigation before a final decision is made,” Tucker wrote in an e-mail responding to questions.

 Alan Creach, son of the slain pastor, reminded Tucker in a different e-mail Friday that he promised to meet with the family before announcing his decision.

Creach expressed concern that he has had no updates about the progress of the case from the prosecutor’s office.

No Penalty For Deputy In Sex-Toy Biz

The deputy who shot a Spokane Valley pastor will not face discipline for failing to disclose his co-ownership of a business that sold sex toys online. Spokane County Deputy Brian Hirzel (of Hayden, pictured) remains under investigation for the Aug. 25 shooting that killed Pastor Wayne Scott Creach near his home and greenhouse business in Spokane Valley. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich announced in September that he had assigned investigators to determine whether Hirzel broke department policy when he failed to disclose his co-ownership in a business called Vanessa Allure that was being operated out of his Hayden home.  “It was being run by his wife,” Knezovich said Friday. “Hirzel gave us full information. He didn’t hide anything. He said he helped set up the website but she ran it”/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here.

Question: Did the Spokane County sheriff and investigators make the right call in deciding not to discipline Deputy Hirzel for failing to disclose his role in an online sex-toy outlet?

Autopsy: No Baton Strike On Creach

According to the report, the bullet from Deputy Hirzel’s gun hit Creach in the chest, traveled through his heart, lungs and hit his liver. It was found lodged in his lower ribcage. The report mentions scrapes and bruises consistent with what Creach may have received working at The Plant Farm, but does not mention an injury consistent with a baton strike, which contradicts Hirzel’s testimony/Marissa Bagg, KXLY. More here.

Question: Hirzel said he struck Pastor Creach with a baton before Creach went for his gun. But the autopsy report doesn’t mention a wound consistent with that claim. What do you make of that?

Sheriff drops the wait in shooting probes

Investigators probing officer-involved shootings will no longer be required to wait at least 72 hours before interviewing Spokane County Sheriff’s Office employees.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich (pictured) announced the change Thursday, ending a departmental practice common at many law enforcement agencies but seen as contradictory and confusing outside of police circles.

The move comes amid continuing public outcry over the nine-day lapse between the Aug. 25 shooting of Spokane Valley pastor and businessman Wayne Scott Creach by Deputy Brian Hirzel, who was allowed to take a scheduled vacation to Montana and Las Vegas before being interviewed by detectives investigating the fatal encounter.

Read the rest of my story here.

911 recordings released in Creach shooting

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Dispatch traffic from night of Creach shooting

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office released the 911 and police dispatch tapes documenting Deputy Brian Hirzel’s transmissions surrounding his fatal shooting of Spokane Valley pastor Wayne Scott Creach.

The transcript is largely as Spokane police officials described. Hirzel called “code 6,” which means he needs help. 

A few seconds later he says: “I’ve got shots fired, one down, shots fired.” A few seconds after that, Hirzel said: “respond medics.”

He made that call a second time from 14208 E. 4th Ave. before a dispatcher acknowledged the call and informed Hirzel that medics were en route.

Hirzel was in full uniform but in an unmarked car the night of Aug. 25 when Creach, who owned the property Hirzel was parked on, approached with a gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other.

Hirzel said he told Creach repeatedly to drop the gun but that he refused and tucked it into the back waistband of his pants instead, then refused Hirzel’s orders to lay on the ground.

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker now has the case and has said he hopes to quickly decide on any potential charges against Hirzel.

Hirzel’s order to drop gun was lawful

Although the Constitution gives citizens the right to bear arms, state laws passed since then dictate how citizens can legally carry and use weapons.

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker and other legal experts say the law is crystal clear on this point: A person must follow a lawful order from police.

“When an officer asks you to drop a weapon, you drop it,” Tucker said this week. “Even in the Old West, if a deputy sheriff comes up on an outlaw and says ‘Drop the gun,’ you drop the gun or a gunbattle starts.”

But Alan Creach, son of Wayne Scott Creach, who was killed Aug. 25, said it’s also clear that his father was no “outlaw,” and was well within his rights to carry a gun to protect his property as he had done for years.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Sept. 17: Police report details pastor’s shooting

Tucker: Pastor Should Have Dropped Gun

Although the Constitution gives citizens the right to bear arms, state laws passed since then dictate how citizens can legally carry and use weapons. Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker and other legal experts say the law is crystal clear on this point: A person must follow a lawful order from police. “When an officer asks you to drop a weapon, you drop it,” Tucker said this week. “Even in the Old West, if a deputy sheriff comes up on an outlaw and says ‘Drop the gun,’ you drop the gun or a gunbattle starts.” But Alan Creach, son of Wayne Scott Creach, who was killed Aug. 25, said it’s also clear that his father was no “outlaw,” and was well within his rights to carry a gun to protect his property as he had done for years/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here.

Question: Do you think it’s fair that someone defending his property is required by law to obey a law officer’s command to drop his gun?

Reports detail Pastor Creach’s gun use

Pastor Wayne Scott Creach not only routinely carried his .45 caliber pistol on his property, he was known by police to hold theft suspects at gunpoint until officers could arrive and once chased a fleeing suspect several blocks before apprehending him by threatening to “blow his head off.” 

That report was among the 21 contacts Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies had with Creach or his business, the Plant Farm, over the last five years, according to records obtained by The Spokesman-Review.

On April 14, 2008, for example, Creach saw someone just after midnight riding away on a bicycle from his nursery complex at 14208 E. 4th Ave. in Spokane Valley with what looked like a plant hanging out of the suspect’s backpack.

Read the rest of Thomas Clouse’s story here.

HBO Poll: Sex-Toy Angle Irrelevant

  • Tuesday Poll: More than 60 percent of Hucks Online readers consider as irrelevant the story that Brian Hirzel, the Spokane County deputy who shot Pastor Wayne Scott Creach to death, sells sex toys online as a side business. 139 of 215 (64.65%) of respondents said it was an irrelevant detail. 64 of 215 (29.77%) considered the sidebar story to be relevant. 12 people (5.58%) were undecided.
  • Today’s Question: Have you ever been subpoenaed to testify in a civil or criminal trial?

Candidate wants WSP to probe shooting

The Democratic challenger for Spokane County prosecutor on Monday called for the Washington State Patrol to take over the investigation into the fatal shooting of a Spokane Valley pastor.

Spokane lawyer Frank Malone said he had not contacted the WSP, but noted they were already involved in the investigation of the Aug. 25 shooting by Deputy Brian Hirzel as part of a protocol that is designed to avoid having a department investigate itself. “

This investigation is already compromised,” Malone said. “The deputy being allowed to go on vacation was ill-advised and created an unnecessary appearance of coziness with the legal system. The deputy is as interested in a credible investigation as anybody else. He doesn’t want this cloud hanging over him, either.”

Read Tom Clouse’s full story here.

Melissa: Sex-Toy Angle Is Relevant

It’s relevant on several levels, depending on who you ask. It’s relevant because the sheriff’s office already has a huge issue on its hands – and, the sheriff chose to assign some of his employees to get to the bottom of it. It’s relevant because, if investigators determine it’s a violation of policy, this deputy could possibly lose his job, even if the prosecutor clears him of criminal charges for the shooting. It’s relevant because some people believe if Deputy Hirzel would violate policy in this way, it’s possible he violated policy with the choices he made the night of the shooting. It’s not up to us to decide the answers to those questions; it is our responsibility to cover every angle of this huge community story, including this one/Melissa Luck, KXLY. More here.

Question: Persuaded, yet?

MM: Sex Toy Angle Isn’t Relevant

RE: KXLY: Hirzel faces sex toys probe, too/Huckleberries Online

Moscow Minidoka: As funny as the sex toy thing is, how could it possibly be relevant to the shooting? I’ve already stated my prejudice against Hirzel in this matter, but this seems like piling on… would we care if he and his wife sold Tupperware or time shares out of their home? Sex toys are pretty mainstream these days, or so I hear… heck, nowadays you can buy a pack of condoms at Safeway that come with a vibrating ring and burn-inducing lubricant.

Question: Is the sidebar story re: the Hirzels selling sex toys online relevant to the story of Pastor Wayne Scott Creach’s shooting death at the hands of Deputy Hirzel?

Report: Sex toys sold from Hirzel’s home

Deputy Brian Hirzel, already under investigation for fatally shooting a Spokane Valley pastor, now is the subject of a new probe.

Hirzel failed to disclose, as required under sheriff’s department rules, that he and his wife are co-owners of a business that sells sex toys online, and could face disciplinary measures if investigators determine he’s taken an active role in the company’s operations, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Monday.

“He told us his wife runs it. If his wife runs it, I can’t control what a spouse does,” Knezovich said, adding that an anonymous tipster advised the Sheriff’s Office on Friday of Hirzel’s connection to the sex toys company. “If he was part of it, there will be some kind of disciplinary action. The discipline will be determined by the facts of the matter.”

RRead the rest of Thomas Clouse’s story here.

KXLY: Hirzel Faces Sex Toys Probe, Too

Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Hirzel is under investigation, not because of the deadly shooting at the Plant Farm last month, but because of a sideline business where he and his wife may have been selling sex toys online from their home.It appears that Deputy Hirzel may have been involved in an online business that sells adult novelty items. While peddling sex toys is legal it may be a violation of Spokane County Sheriff’s Office departmental policy and something the department had no idea the Hirzels were doing/Jeff Humphrey, KXLY. More here.

Question: Are you kidding me?

Vestal: Kirkpatrick’s Lecture Irrelevant

Basic information about the shooting of Wayne Scott Creach has been slow to emerge and shamefully scarce. Just days earlier, (Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick’s) department had issued a news release describing the Aug. 25 event as a “close encounter” with a “verbal exchange” – paltry, insufficient generalities that could have accurately been stated the morning after the shooting. Other facts, such as the now notorious vacation of Deputy Brian Hirzel, dribbled out while the cops played PR defense. The idea that the department owes the public an accounting – or that this vacation might strike us as outrageous – seemed not to register. So when Kirkpatrick began making her statement on Tuesday, one could have been forgiven for assuming she planned to discuss the shooting. … But no. What Kirkpatrick did was offer a lecture on “fatal shooting officer-involved protocol,” an irrelevancy that seemed aimed primarily at rescuing the sheriff’s reputation/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here. (SR file photo, of Anne Kirkpatrick)

Question: Why do police — particularly Spokane authorities — spend so much time covering their tails when one of theirs goofs up? Do they think people are going to simply quit asking about a controversy like the shooting of a pastor on his property?

Clark: Baton Story The Stuff Of Myths

Santa Claus. The Tooth Fairy. The Easter Bunny …The Keebler Elves. Open wide, compadres. We have a brand new myth to swallow. It’s called…“The Phantom Baton Blow.” Believing in magic is about the best way to make sense out of what Deputy Brian Hirzel says happened the night Wayne Scott Creach was fatally shot Aug. 25 in Spokane Valley. Hirzel says he struck Creach with his police baton. We’re told the blow was delivered in a knee area and hard enough so that the minister actually buckled. Yet we are also told that the autopsy showed no corresponding bruise on Creach. Hmm/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Do you believe Deputy Brian Hirzel’s story that he hit Pastor Wayne Scott Creach with his baton before shooting the minister to death?

Deputy’s Vacation Frustrates Sheriff

Item: Sheriff frustrated by vacation flap: Investigative panel allowed deputy to leave without consulting Knezovich/Thomas Clouse, SR

More Info: Hirzel “was already on vacation when I found out he was on vacation,” Knezovich said. “How do I un-ring that bell? I could have said bring him back in. But I would have just countermanded everything that the (investigative) team had done. That was not my role in the investigation. My role was to stay out of it and not influence it.”

Question: Is Ozzie protesting too much?

Sheriff ruing flap over deputy’s vacation

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is frustrated and caught off-guard by the public reaction to the decision to allow Deputy Brian Hirzel to leave for vacation just hours after he shot and killed a Spokane Valley pastor late last month. 

Knezovich acknowledges that everything with his department ultimately is his responsibility. But he believes he’s been unfairly portrayed in the decision to allow Hirzel to leave town before explaining the encounter that resulted in the death of 74-year-old Wayne Scott Creach.

Hirzel “was already on vacation when I found out he was on vacation,” Knezovich said. “How do I un-ring that bell? I could have said bring him back in. But I would have just countermanded everything that the (investigative) team had done. That was not my role in the investigation. My role was to stay out of it and not influence it.”

Read Tom Clouse’s full story here.

Deputy says pastor was reaching for a gun

Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Hirzel said he ordered Pastor Wayne Scott Creach to drop his gun multiple times, struck the 74-year-old man in the leg with a police baton and fired only after the property owner began to draw the gun out of his waistband, an investigator said Tuesday in the first detailed account of the Aug. 25 incident that resulted in Creach’s death.

At no time did Creach aim his weapon at Hirzel, according to Spokane Police Lt. Dave McGovern, who supervises the detectives who investigate major crimes.The autopsy following the shooting showed no corresponding mark on Creach’s leg from a baton strike, McGovern said.

“But then again, that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t struck,” the police lieutenant said. “It’s just that there were no marks of it.” Further forensic testing will be done to determine if there are marks on Creach’s trousers or fibers on the baton. Read Tom Clouse’s full story here.

Past coverage: Sept. 6: Deputy says he hit pastor with baton

Police: Pastor Shot While Drawing Gun

A Spokane Valley pastor had put his gun in the waistband of his pants and was reaching for it when he was shot by a Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy late last month, a Spokane Police investigator said at a news conference this afternoon. The pastor, Wayne Scott Creach, had approached an unmarked police car in the parking lot of his Spokane Valley business where Deputy Brian Hirzel was sitting processing tickets, Spokane Police Lt. Dave McGovern said at a press conference today. The driver’s side window was down, and Hirzel warned Creach up to six times to drop the handgun he was holding down at his side, McGovern said. Creach replied that “he didn’t have to” drop his gun, but stowed the gun in the waistband of his trousers, McGovern said/Spokesman-Review. More here

Question: What do you make of this announcement by Spokane police?

INW: Kirkpatrick To Discuss Shooting

Rocco Segadelli, 11 months old, of Boise, is wide-eyed as he checks out the inside of a Mickey Mouse  balloon at the Spirit of Boise  Balloon Classic Night Glow Saturday night at Ann Morrison Park in Boise. (AP Photo/Idaho Press Tribune: Mike Vogt)

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick to hold 2 pm press conference to discuss Creach shooting investigation/KXLY.

Clark: Knezovich Blew This One

It pains me to say it, but the sheriff’s leadership in the aftermath of the shooting death of a 74-year-old Spokane Valley pastor by a sheriff’s deputy has been neither swift nor inspiring. In particular, Knezovich’s decision to allow Deputy Brian Hirzel to postpone a key voluntary interview regarding the shooting until he got back from a scheduled vacation to Montana and Las Vegas galls me greatly. We’ve reported that Knezovich has defended not canceling the deputy’s time off out of concern that doing so “could taint the investigation by making it appear that he forced Hirzel to give the statement.” Sorry, Ozzie. That explanation is about as close to political doubletalk as I’ve ever heard you utter/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Do you agree that Sheriff Knezovich set a bad tone for the investigation into the shooting of Pastor Creach by allowing Deputy Hirzel to take a vacation before questioning?

Deputy says he saw armed man approach

Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Hirzel told investigators Friday that he saw Pastor Wayne Scott Creach approaching his unmarked patrol car from a distance of about 30 feet with a gun in his hand before they had a verbal confrontation. 

Hirzel said in a videotaped interview that he fired one shot that killed Creach on Aug. 25, according to a news release sent Friday by Spokane Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

“According to Officer Hirzel’s statement and evidence collected at the scene, ultimately there was a close encounter between the officer and Mr. Creach near the officer’s car,” the release said. “Officer Hirzel stated there was a verbal exchange between himself and Mr. Creach prior to the single gunshot being fired. Officer Hirzel’s statement and the evidence confirms only one shot was fired.” 

The news release offered no explanation of what was said or by whom, or why Hirzel felt the need to pull the trigger, killing the 74-year-old pastor in the parking lot of his nursery business at 14208 E. 4th Ave. in Spokane Valley.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here

Read the full news release by clicking the last link at the end of this post.

Past coverage:

Sept. 3: Pastor buried in Oklahoma

Sept. 1: Deputy’s vacation delays probe into fatal shooting

Sept. 1: Son offers insight into pastor’s fatal encounte

Aug. 31: Officer involved in fatal shooting identified

Aug. 31: Mourners note ‘good example’ set by slain clergyman

Aug. 28: Sheriff offers condolences, withholds details

Aug. 27: Valley officer kills pastor at nursery