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Man accused of injuring police dog

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.
  

Man who died after fleeing hospital ID’d

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.

1 arrested, 1 wanted in hotel stabbing

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.
  

Nicks changes story on Zehm’s death

 

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.

Read the rest of the story here.

The truth about Otto Zehm emerges…finally.

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.

 

Dave

Suspect identifed in fatal hit-and-run

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.

Read the rest of my story here.

Police raid meth house for 4th time

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.

Wanted: Info on man who died in river

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.

Photos show suspects in hotel stabbing

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.

Brothers accused of gunpoint drug rip

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.

Photo Red warning period ends today

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.

Today’s prediction: Fireworks ahead on ombudsman

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.

Gunfire in west Spokane leads to arrest

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 suspect admitted bank heist

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.

Police seize meth, heroin, cash, gun

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.

Cops: Man attacks son-in-law w/ knife

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.

Red-light runner hits Spokane police car

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 detective wants $10 mil. from city

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.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

July 15: SPD detective fired for 'troubled history'

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

Couple hurt in Fourth of July attack

 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.

Police pension group OKs hypnosis

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.

Read the rest of my story here.

The story was posted on LawOfficer.com's Facebook page today. The comments are quite interesting.

Mother charged in crash disappearance

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.

SPD detective fired for ‘troubled history’

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.

Read the rest of Jonathan Brunt's story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

Cheaper paint offered to combat graffit

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.
  

Fatal police shooting ruled justified

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.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past covergae:

Nov. 16: Gunman killed by police described as volatile, explosive

Nov. 12: Shotgun-shooting man killed by police

2 stabbed in fight over woman’s clothes

A confrontation over a woman's clothing led a Spokane man to stab two people late Tuesday, police say.

Raymond L. Bell, 45, is accused of stabbing Gary Smith and his son, Jonathan Smith during a fight that began about 10:45 p.m. at 2517 E. 1st Ave.

According to court documents, Bell banged on the door and demanded clothes belonging to his girlfriend, but when Smith said he didn't have the items, Bell took a black folding knife out of his pocket and stabbed him in the left arm.
Jonathan Smith was stabbed in chest and hospitalized with a partially collapsed lung.

A police K-9 tracked Bell to a garage at 2415 E. 1st Ave., where he was arrested on two counts of first-degree assault. He remains in jail on $30,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Police ombudsman rules downgraded

An arbitrator this week revoked a law that strengthened Spokane’s police ombudsman powers because the city did not consult the Spokane Police Guild before it was approved last year.

The decision by arbitrator Michael H. Beck effectively reverses rules that strengthened the ability of police Ombudsman Tim Burns to investigate alleged officer misconduct independently of police. The opinion was dated Monday; the city received it Tuesday.

The power to examine police wrongdoing separate from the police department’s own investigators is a change in working conditions that must be negotiated with the guild, Beck ruled.

Read the rest of the story here.

Past coverage:

June 29: Spokane police ombudsman gains power

Brothers charged in baseball bat attack

 Two brothers from a notorious Spokane family are accused of a baseball bat attack in a park that left a man with a permanent lip disfigurement.

Jayce Leon Elton Pirtle Jr., 23, (right) and Andrew Lee Elias Pirtle, 21, (bottom left) were charged this week with second-degree assault for allegedly beating Luke Coulson with a bat in Cannon Hill Park, 800 W. 19th Ave., just after midnight on May 14. 

Coulson and his girlfriend were at the park with a group of friends when men approached with baseball bat and began striking him in the face. Witnesses told police the attack was retaliation for a previous assault.

Witnesses also told police that Jayce Pirtle picked one victim up by his neck and threw him backward before striking another man and breaking his right wrist, according to court documents.

Jayce Pirtle was arrested Friday when law enforcement searched his apartment at 1808 E. Pacific Ave.

Pirtle's probation officer had found a .357 handgun in his apartment after learning that police were investigating him for a burglary. Spokane police obtained a search warrant and seized the handgun, along with two rifles.

Jayce Pirtle has previous convictions or second-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault and is in jail on $50,000 for the new charges. He's also held on a DOC warrant for violating his probation. Pirtle's previous convictions count against the three-strikes law. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted on his latest assault charge.

Andrew Pirtle has been summonsed to court for an arraignment on the assault charge and is not in custody.

The Pirtles are the nephews of notorious Spokane double murderer Blake Pirtle, who killed two Burger King employees in 1992. His death sentence was overturned after a judge ruled Spokane police had violated his civil rights during his arrest.

The Pirtles claim police unfairly target them because of that case.

Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said the family has a “propensity for crime” that earns police attention.

“If they made a significant effort to clean up their act, then they wouldn't be getting our attention,” DeRuwe said. “Historically, some member of the family is committing a crime so they're receiving our attention.”'

Read more in tomorrow's edition of The Spokesman-Review.

Cops: Herpes fear led to pot robbery

An invitation to smoke marijuana turned into a robbery last weekend in Spokane because the suspect feared contracting herpes from a water pipe.

Aziem L. Richardson invited the teens to an apartment at 1119 W. Augusta Ave., to smoke marijuana in celebration of his 19th birthday, which was Saturday.

Richardson left after several minutes and returned with a shotgun and threatened the teens, telling them “I heard your or your girlfriend has herpes and we have been sharing a bong,” according to a search warrant. “If I get herpes, I'm gong to kill you both.”

Richardson, who has two previous felony convictions for robbery as a juvenile, ordered the men to empty their pockets and stole a wallet and cellphones, police said.

Police used a search warrant to retrieve the stolen property from the apartment just after midnight Sunday, as well as a shotgun, bong and shotgun shells.

Richardson remains in jail on $30,000 bond for first-degree robbery.

Robbery, kidnapping suspect arrested

A fugitive targeted with tear gas in an unsuccessful SWAT team search on Monday was arrested early today in downtown Spokane.

Kenneth J. Kheel, 21, (left) was arrested during a traffic stop by Spokane Sgt. Kurt Vigesaa near Riverside Avenue and Monroe Street just after midnight, police said.

Kheel and Jarred T. Many, 22, are accused robbing two men at gunpoint after they victims arranged to buy a ring from Many at 1124 W. Nora Ave. on June 17.

Many was arrested at the Nora Avenue home Monday buy Spokane police SWAT team members, but Kheel was not inside as police expected.

Now he's in jail awaiting his first appearance in Superior Court today on two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree kidnapping.

Kheel was released from prison last September after being sentenced in June 2009 to two years in prison with credit for 143 days served for second-degree assault. He had been arrested in January 2009 after off-duty police Sgt. Brad Thoma suffered a minor stab wound during a confrontation with Kheel in downtown Spokane.

SWAT nabs 1 of 2 robbery suspects

A Spokane man who went to prison for a fight with off-duty police officers is now wanted on robbery and kidnapping charges.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of Kenneth J. Kheel, who is accused with Jarred T. Many, 22, of robbing two men at 1124 W. Nora Ave. on June 17.

Many was arrested at the home about 10:30 p.m. Monday by Spokane police SWAT team members and hostage negotiators. Police pumped tear gas into the home and found Anthony L. Haines, 24, hiding in the basement but not Kheel.

Haines was arrested on unrelated warrants; Kheel, 21, is still at large.

Police believe Many and Kheel escorted two men who showed up at the home to buy a ring last month, then pushed them to the floor and beat and pistol whipped them before holding them at gunpoint and stealing their money. The robbers also allegedly threatened to kill the victims if they called police, Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said in a news release. Spokane police major crimes Detective Neil Gallion developed information identifying Many and Kheel as suspects.

Anyone with information on Kheel's location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (509) 327-5111.

Kheel was released from prison last September after being sentenced in June 2009 to two years in prison with credit for 143 days served for second-degree assault. He had been arrested in January 2009 after off-duty police Sgt. Brad Thoma suffered a minor stab wound during a confrontation with Kheel outside the Steam Plant Grill.

Thoma said Kheel and another man were harassing his fiancé, Spokane police Officer Amy Ross.