Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Spokane City Council members suggested they may need voters to save the stronger police oversight rules they approved last year, by working to place the concept on the ballot.
Passions were high during the council’s Monday meeting as they discussed overturning police oversight rules. The debate included a few shouting matches between attendees and Council President Joe Shogan.
A 48-year-old man who traveled to Spokane from California last week is accused of threatening a prostitute with a knife on East Sprague Avenue.
James L. Brewer, of Sacramento, is charged with second-degree assault after a prostitute told police he'd chased her with a knife and tried to grab her after stopping his silver 2001 Mercedes-Benz at Sprague Avenue and Spokane Street on Aug. 13 about 190:05 p.m.
The woman ran screaming to other prostitutes, who called 911. Police the next day spotted the Mercedes at Sprague and South Lee Street and contacted the occupants, one of whom identified himself as Brewer.
Brewer told police he'd just gotten into town the night before and had asked the woman for directions to a motel, but they ran way screaming "for no reason at all," according to court documents. He denied pulling a knife on them. Brewer was arrested for intimation/display of a dangerous weapon, a misdemeanor and released from jail after appearing in Spokane County District Court.
A felony assault charge was just filed in Superior Court; Brewer, who gave court officials a Pines Road address, has not yet been arrested.
A knife-wielding man was arrested Friday after a police chase ended with his car striking a Subway sandwich shop in downtown Spokane.
Charles D. Fletcher, 43, is accused of waving a large hunting knife at passing motorists and scratching their cars while screaming near 9th Avenue and Grand Boulevard about 9:22 p.m., according to court documents.
Spokane police were responding to the area when they heard the suspect, who was driving a white Ford Bronco, had just entered the emergency Providence Scared Heart Medical Center with the knife. The man ran back outside and fled in the Bronco when he saw the police car, and officers pursued him down the lower South Hill and used PIT maneuvers to try to stop him.
Fletcher lost control of his car on westbound 3rd Avenue and crashed into a police, then into the Subway at Browne Street, where he was arrested. Fletcher also crashed into a car at 3rd and Browne and slightly injured the driver.
Fletcher told police he'd stabbed his knife into a car because the driver insulted him and his vehicle. He was booked into jail for hit and run, attempting to elude police and three counts of first-degree assault.
A suspect has been arrested for an assault in which a man was stabbed in the back.
Stephen J. Heidt, 26, was arrested Friday, one week after a stabbing that left Daniel Kelly, 30, with a stab wound in his back.
Spokane police responded to the 4800 block of North Lacey Street about 8:41 p.m. Aug. 12 and found Kelly with the non-life threatening injury. A K-9 team unsuccessfully searched for the assailant, whom Kelly identified as "Steve" or "Stephen," according to police.
Witnesses identified Heidt from photo montages, and Heidt was charged last week with first-degree assault. He remains at the Spokane County Jail after appearing in court on Monday.
Heidt, who has previous felony convictions, was arrested in June 2010 after trying to flee police in a stolen car.
Officers found several weapons in the car, including a hatchet and meat cleaver. He pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen motor vehicle a month later.
Friends and family of homicide victim Evon M. Moore are holding a car wash today to raise money for her memorial. Moore's daughter, Tarah Krivenko, said she expects to be at West Buckeye Avenue and North Division Street for several more hours today, along with Moore's partner of 10 years, Marzelle Gower.
Krivenko said donations have been coming in none stop, and strangers have volunteered to help.
Spokane police still are trying to determine how Moore (pictured) ended up dead behind an east Spokane warehouse on Saturday, and who put her there.
She was studying at Spokane Community College to be a legal administrative assistant. Moore's memorial is set for Saturday at 10 a.m. at Ball & Dodd Funeral Home, 5100 W. Wellseley Ave.
Spokane police on Wednesday arrested a second suspect for an attempted gunpoint robbery at a motel last month.
Walter S. Reiter, 31, is due in Superior Court this afternoon on robbery, assault and unlawful possession of a firearm charges for an incident at the Comfort Inn, 923 E. 3rd Ave., on July 25.
A TV station employee recognized Reiter and suspect Jason M. Doyle, 32, from surveillance photos released to media.
The tipster told police he's known Reiter and Doyle since middle school and that suspects are best friends. Doyle was arrested last week on charges of first-degree attempted robbery, first-degree assault and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
The victim, Dustin T. Hayes, of Omak, told police he was staying with his girlfriend at the motel when he was assaulted by two men and threatened with a shotgun.
He said he prevented the men from taking his duffel bag "even though they were overpowering him and he was being stabbed," according to court documents. Hayes wrestled the shotgun away from the men, but one grabbed it as the fled the motel. The men also stole Hayes' Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap after they couldn't get the duffel bag, police said.
Hayes said he didn't know the men but believes they were trying to rob him because they thought he had money in the duffel bag.
A Spokane man was arrested on suspicion of injuring a police dog after during a domestic violence arrest call last weekend.
Gerry R. Elerding, 39, is accused of violently fighting with Spokane police K-9 Leo as police responded to a report of an assault and no-contact order violation at an apartment in the 1300 block of South Adams Street about 4 a.m. on Saturday.
An officer forced the door open at the home and found Elerding's ex-girlfriend but could not locate the suspect, so he requested assistance from a police dog.
K-9 Leo entered the basement, and police heard him yelp "as if he had been hurt," according to court documents.
Officers found Leo moving toward the basement stairs with his leg caught in his partially pulled off harness, documents say.
Police say the secured harness had never before come off "nor has Leo ever left a suspect during a fight or capture." Leo has been involved in nearly 30 violent captures, according to police.
Elerding remains in jail on a state Department of Corrections probation hold, as well as $1,900 bail for charges of violating a no-contact order and harming a police dog.
He has previous convictions for drugs, eluding police and, just in June, violating a domestic violence no-contact order.
A hallucinating man who died early Saturday after fleeing a Spokane hospital has been identified as Steven Edward Escallier, 42.
Escallier was taken by ambulance to a hospital after police found him "suffering from hallucinations" at East Wellesley Avenue and North Standard Avenue Friday about 9:30 p.m.
Hospital staff called 911 at 12:04 a.m. Saturday and said Escallier had fled the hospital and that security was following him.
When police arrived, Escallier "had stopped breathing," according to a news release.
Officers administered CPR and Escallier was taken back to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy confirmed his identity Monday, but the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office has not yet determined his cause of death.
Escallier is a longtime felon who has at least 40 criminal convictions dating back more than 25 years.
He was sentenced to a year of prison and year of drug treatment in 2009 after posing as a Drug Enforcement Administration agent and trying to rob two men he thought were drug dealers.
The men were actually trying to complete a cell phone sale advertised on Craigslist. Escallier told Judge Maryann Moreno at his sentencing in August 2009 that he was a longtime drug addict who was ready to change.
Moreno was skeptical.
“I bet you’ve said all these things in court before,” the judge said at the time. “I hear it all the time…You’re going to figure it out or you’re probably going to die.”
A multi-agency team is investigating Escallier's death.
Spokane police have arrested a suspect in a stabbing and attempted robbery at Comfort Inn last month and are asking for help locating a second suspect.
Walter S. Reiter, 31, (pictured) is wanted for first-degree robbery, police said today. Anyone with information on his location should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Jason M. Doyle, 32, a felon, was arrested Thursday on charges of first-degree attempted robbery, first-degree assault and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. He and Reiter are accused of using a shotgun to try to rob a man at the Comfort Inn, 923 E. 3rd Ave. on July 25 about 1 a.m.
The victim suffered a non-life threatening stab wound after reportedly bragging “about how much money and dope he had in his car," police said at the time.
Surveillance photos released last week led police to identify Doyle and Reiter as suspects.
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner Tuesday acknowledged that the city is re-evaluating its legal position in the Otto Zehm controversy after new court documents indicate officers violated use-of-force and other departmental policies in the fatal 2006 confrontation.
According to court records filed last week in the upcoming federal trial against Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson, Assistant Police Chief Jim Nicks is prepared to testify that major crimes detectives failed to analyze the video of the confrontation compared to Thompson’s statement; they never followed up on a report from an ambulance crew that Thompson struck Zehm in the head with a baton; and his own review of the video shows that Thompson violated several policies and procedures by applying unjustified force against the retreating Zehm.
Good morning, Netizens…
To quote the Spokesman-Review's Shawn Vestal, in speaking of Jim Nicks' erratic and misleading trip to the truth regarding the death of Otto Zehm, “It took just five years, 20 weeks and a day.” That, folks, is just too damned long for a so-called leader of Spokane's Police Department, let alone any leader of government.
Oh, I am reasonably certain, given the opportunity, to reel his statements made at the time, Jim Nicks would probably gleefully take back everything he said about Officer Karl Thompson's assault on Otto Zehm, but this that isn't going to happen. The cat is out of the bag, and the truth is pretty ugly. A police officer, our Acting Chief at the time, lied to everyone, either by omission or by intent. He should have looked carefully at the videotape from the Zip Trip before he opened his mouth, and he did not.
Shawn Vestal's fact-filled article, which is located at http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/aug/10/shawn-vestal-truth-about-zehm-sure-took-a-while/ pretty much says it all.
For the sake of absolute clarity, what this is not about is the rank-and-file policemen and policewomen who put their lives on the line every day in their performance of their duties. Their thankless and often dangerous job is a mean, ugly job. They serve as human garbage disposal experts combined with social workers extraordinaire; they deal with the dregs of society that none of us are capable nor eager to contend with, and yet deal with compassion with those of society in need. That pretty much describes their jobs, and I, for one, will not disparage their efforts.
No, the Otto Zehm death is all about a handful of police commanders who lied, and perhaps even attempted to cover it up. Particularly the lies started with Jim Nicks and Karl Thompson. In the words of our current police chief, Anne Kirkpatrick, “You lie, you die.” Will anyone in Spokane's City government have the temerity to hold Kirkpatrick to her word?
It is time to excise the cancer. Five years is too long to wait.
A suspect has been identified in a June hit-and-run crash that led to a 66-year-old Spokane man’s death.
Spokane police on Friday seized a 1996 Nissan Sentra that they believe 18-year-old Megan C. Skillingstad was driving when she struck Dennis Widener on June 23. Widener (pictured) died of his injuries two weeks later.
Cpl. Brad Hallock said Skillingstad, who has not been arrested and has no criminal history, faces a charge of failure to leave information at the scene of a collision resulting in death.
Spokane police raided a suspected drug home in Hillyard for the fourth time in several months last week.
Suspect Thomas W. Grosstueck, 51, recently was released from jail because prosecutors didn't file charges within 72 hours as required.
Grosstueck already faces a felony meth distribution charge related to a SWAT team raid at his home at 3012 E. Olympic Ave. on July 6.
Spokane police Lt. Dave Richards said it was their third visit to the home in six months.
The police SWAT team raided the home again on July 29
Police saw 10 complaints about drug traffic at the home were filed between September 2009 and October 2010. That led police to employ a confidential informant, who once told them "there was a line of people waiting to purchase meth" at the home. "The CI sated that they were currently fourth in line," according to a search warrant.
On July 26, police used confidential informant to buy meth at the home again. Grosstueck didn't have any of the drug for sale, but he smoked meth in front of the informant and had trace amounts of it on scales, which led to a judge authorizing the July 29 search.
Grosstueck to be arraigned on the drug charge from July 6 next week.
Police are asking for the public’s help to determine how a 40-year-old man ended up dead in the Spokane River on Friday.
Keith A. Millheim’s body was pulled from the Spokane River after being spotted under the Sandifur Bridge in People’s Park about 5:12 p.m.
Millheim’s body was pinned by a log “in a particularly treacherous and fast moving section of the river,” according to the Spokane Fire Department.
The “very difficult and technically challenging” recovery was a joint effort by the fire department’s marine unit and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office dive team members.
Police say Millheim was released from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center on July 25. Investigators are trying to determine where he was and who he stayed with in the days after his release.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Spokane police are asking for help identifying two robbers who stabbed a man at the Comfort Inn last week.
The victim suffered a non-life threatening stab wound after reportedly bragging "about how much money and dope he had in his car" about 1 a.m. on July 25, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department.
Police today released surveillance photos from the hotel at 923 E. 3rd Ave. that show two men who are believed to be the assailants.
Anyone with information on their identities is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Two brothers are accused of robbing a man at gunpoint after arranging a drug deal in a grocery store parking lot.
Jason D. Pegram, 30, and Kyle E. Pegram, 29, are in jail on robbery charges after they were arrested Sunday after a man told police he'd been robbed in the Fred Meyer parking lot at 400 S. Thor St. about 8:25 p.m.
Pegram told police he gave the victim a bag of white flour instead of drugs and received $180, but police believe he also threatened the victim with a gun.
Police searched an apartment at 803 E. Hartson Ave., where Jason Pegram lives with his mother. Police recovered a black BB gun from the home, which they say resembles a semi-automatic handgun.
Kyle Pegram denied involvement, but police say they developed information that connected him to the crime.
The brothers remain in jail on first-degree robbery charges.
The grace period will end tonight for red light runners caught on camera at the three latest Spokane intersections to be equipped with the surveilance devices, police warned today.
Starting first thing tomorrow, anyone caught on camera running a red light will receive a ticket in the mail.
The three new intersections are at southbound Browne St. at Third Ave., southbound Maple St. at Second Ave. and westbound Second Ave. at Walnut Street. The three cameras went live on July 1 and officers have sent out 500 warning notices since they were installed, said police spokeswoman Teresa Fuller.
The city has issued more than 25,000 citations for running a red light since the first cameras were installed, Fuller said. The fine that goes with the citation is $124.
This doesn't take a crystal ball or Karnak the Great: The city of Spokane and some of its citizens groups are headed for a heated fight over the current police ombudsman's ordinance.
The Center for Justice and others today are urging the city to appeal a recent arbitrator's decision that the expanded powers for the ombudsman had to be negotiated with the Police Guild. The council, meanwhile, is considering whether to repeal the 2010 ordinance that expanded those powers and go back to the previous configuration.
Read the full story about it here.
An argument between two men erupted in gunfire early Saturday in west Spokane, leading to the arrest of a man on assault and gun charges.
The victim told police he was arguing with John J. Felch, 19, about 2:30 a.m. in the intersection of West Boone Avenue and North Lindeke Street when Felch returned about a half hour alter and fired several rounds from a gun.
The victim, identified only as Patterson in court documents, called police about seven hours later to turn himself in on an unrelated warrant and to report the shooting. Two other witnesses told also police that Felch fired several shots, and a man who lives in the 2600 block of West Boone reported hearing gunshots and finding 9 mm shell casings near a street curb.
Police searched Felch's bedroom at 1922 W. Broadway Ave., where they found a 20 gauge shotgun. The 9 mm handgun used in the shooting was not located.
Felch was booked into jail on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree felon in possession of a firearm; police said he as a previous conviction for first-degree robbery, but court records show the charge was actually attempted first-degree robbery, which was ajudicated in juvenile court and is not considered a felony conviction. A previous version of this post also said witnesses described Felch as a gang member, but Felch isn't actually a gang member.
Police say a sex offender admitted to robbing a bank Wednesday in north Spokane.
Lawrence A. Wideman, 43, remains in jail on $150,000 bond for first-degree robbery. Police pulled him from the Spokane River after a chase that began with a gunpoint robbery at Wells Fargo, 6228 N. Monroe St.
Bank employees said the robber pointed a gun at a female employees and said "give me all the money or I'll shoot her," before he fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.
A woman driving on Monroe Street followed Wideman after spotting him running with orange smoke billowing from his pocket, police said. She watched him climb inside a 1991 Subaru Legacy and called police with the license plate number.
Spokane police Detective Kip Hollenbeck was watching traffic near Spokane Falls Community College when he spotted the car and followed it on Government Way. Wideman sped through a metal gate at a military cemetery, abandoned the car and ran into the river, where police arrested him. A loaded .40 caliber Taurus semiautomatic was located near the river.
Police found a bag of dye-covered cash inside Wideman's Subaru, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Wideman is a level 2 sex offender with a 2009 conviction for third-degree rape of a child. He has several tattoos, including the phrase “God forgives. Outlaws don’t.” on his left shoulder, according to the Spokane County sex offender registry.
Spokane police seized meth, heroin, cash and a handgun from an apartment at 406 E. Montgomery on July 14. (Spokane Police Department photos)
Spokane police seized heroin, methamphetamine, a handgun and nearly $800 from a suspected drug home last week.
Penni L. Cornwell, 46, was arrested during an early-morning search at her apartment at 406 E. Montgomery Ave. on Thursday, where police say two undercover drug purchases had occurred.
The Spokane Police Department's special investigative unit began looking into Cornwell after an informant told them Cornwell received heroin from a man who purchased large amounts in Seattle.
The same confidential informant, who is being paid, recently led Spokane police to a large heroin bust at the Bel-Air Motel, according to a search warrant used to seize items from Cornwell's apartment.
Police searched Cornwell's apartment one day after she told the informant she had "plenty" of heroin for sale, according to the search warrant.
Cornwell has a felony conviction in 2005 for distribution of methamphetamine. She was arrested on two counts of delivery of heroin and one count of felon in possession of a firearm and remains in jail.
See more photos at the Spokane Police Department's Facebook page.
An ongoing dispute between a man and his son-in-law culminated a knife attack at a north Spokane home Friday, police say.
Vernon Ray Zielinski, 57, was arrested for first-degree assault after his son-in-law, Tad Howard, and witnesses said Zielinski stabbed him in the hand as Howard tried to fight off the attack.
Family members told police that Zielinski had threatened Howard before and once wrote him a letter saying he wanted to "cut him into little pieces" and mail him to his mother, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Three young children witnessed the attack about 1:30 p.m., Spokane police said.
A Spokane police officer was treated for minor injuries after a driver ran a flashing red light and crashed into his patrol car early this morning.
Officer Chris Bode was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure, where he was treated for a bump on his head and neck pain.
Bode was westbound on West Second Avenue with a flashing yellow light when he entered the South Monroe Street intersection about 2:10 a.m. and was struck by a southbound vehicle.
The westbound car had a flashing red light, which requires drivers to stop. Neither speed nor alcohol was a factor, police said. The offending driver, whose name has not been released, was cited for failing to stop for a flashing red signal. The driver was not injured.
Bode was involved in another collision in May in which a teenager being chased by police allegedly rammed his patrol car.
Fired Spokane police Detective Jeff Harvey and his attorney filed a $10 million claim against the city today, arguing that police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick terminated him because he spoke out against the chief’s policies as the vice president of the Spokane Police Guild.
“Chief Kirkpatrick has for some time expressed her retaliatory desire/intent to terminate Detective Harvey’s 24-year law enforcement career due to his ongoing vocal opposition to her disparate and unlawful treatment of union members,” Harvey’s attorney, Bob Dunn, wrote in the tort claim.
Police are trying to identify a group of assailants who beat a young couple near the Spokane Arena on the Fourth of July.
Shantell Rushing, 21, and her boyfriend Jorge Ruiz, 21, were walking north on Howard Street from Riverfront Park when a group of about 10 juveniles attacked them near Cataldo Street.
Ruiz was knocked unconscious and needed stitches for to seal a head wound; Rushing suffered facial wounds and other injuries.
Rushing said they passed the group on the walk but didn't have any contact until the assault. They said the juveniles appeared to be about 15 and said nothing during the attack. Four of them returned to continue beating Ruiz and stole his wallet, keys and cellphone, Rushing said.
Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said detectives have little information regarding possible suspects.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A retired Spokane police officer will have his hypnosis weight-loss therapy paid for by city tax money.
Members of the Spokane Police Pension and Relief Board unanimously approved the unusual claim from board member Gary Gow at its meeting Thursday.
Gow, who retired from the Spokane Police Department in 1985 after 20 years of service, abstained from voting. He’s been a member of the pension board for 21 years.
The story was posted on LawOfficer.com's Facebook page today. The comments are quite interesting.
Police say a Spokane mother who caused a car crash last month removed her injured child from the scene before medics arrived because she feared getting in trouble.
Tamika L. Hill, 28, appeared in Superior Court Thursday on a second-degree criminal mistreatment charge and two counts of vehicular assault for a June 27 crash at North Ralph Street and East Upriver Drive that injured her passenger, Andrew Neil Powell, and her young daughter, identified by the initials T.W.
A woman who witnessed the crash said she arrived to find Powell unconscious and bleeding, but Hill repeatedly asked her not to call the police, according to court documents.
The woman said the inside of Hill's Ford Escort smelled like alcohol and that Hill called someone to pick up her daughter.
The woman pleaded with Hill to keep her daughter at the scene because she appeared to be injured, but Hill refused "saying that she could get in trouble," according to court documents. The child was driven from the scene by an unknown person, the woman told police.
Hill didn't tell responding officers that her daughter was involved in the crash but police later contacted the child and learned she'd been treated for minor injuries at Holy Family Hospital.
Last year, Hill was watching a woman's three children when she left them with a neighbor, causing an argument with their mother that led to a stabbing. Read more here.
Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick fired Detective Jeff Harvey on Wednesday as a result of an alleged confrontation Harvey had with a state Fish and Wildlife officer and what his termination letter labeled a “troubled work history.”
The incident was “part of the pattern of behavior that (the department) had documented over the years with this particular employee,” said city spokeswoman Marlene Feist.
Harvey is the former vice president of the Spokane Police Guild.
Mayor Mary Verner said she “backs the chief’s decision.”
Havey’s termination letter was hand-delivered to his home, Feist said.
The Spokane Police Department has introduced a new method for combating graffiti: cheap paint to cover it.
Police are partnering with local paint stores to offer discounts for citizens whose property has been vandalized.
Citizens with 10-day notices from the city to remove graffiti from their property can get a 35 percent discount on "selected paint products" at local Miller Paint, Columbia Paint and Sherwin Williams Paint stores, according to a news release by Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.
The discount is available for 10 days from the date of the notice.
Police say local graffiti costs residents thousands each year to cover up.
From upper left, Spokane police Officers Dan Cole, Bill Hager, Kyle Heuett, Mike McNab, Bruce Palmer and Doug Strosahl were involved in the fatal shooting of Ethan Corporon.
Police were justified when they shot and killed a 29-year-old man who was running with a shotgun outside a busy Spokane restaurant last fall, the Spokane County prosecutor’s office has ruled.
Ethan A. Corporon fired six shots at a home at 1402 W. Buckeye Ave. on Nov. 12 before fleeing police and abandoning his father’s pickup in the middle of southbound Monroe Street in front of Shari’s restaurant. Witnesses at the time said Corporon appeared to be firing the shotgun while running from officers, though a police investigation determined Corporon never fired but did refuse to drop the weapon.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll said Corporon’s refusal to drop the shotgun gave police legitimate concerns for their own safety and the safety of others.