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Fire extinguisher used in self-defense, burglary suspect says

A man trying to break into a West Central apartment during a domestic dispute Tuesday morning says he used a fire extinguisher to protect himself from getting shot.

Alexander VanZandt, 23, is one of three suspects in an early-morning burglary that has prompted a suspect search by Spokane Police. Investigators say VanZandt, Jory Vallee, 24, and one other man were attempting to break in to an apartment where Vallee's ex-girlfriend was hiding from him just before 8 a.m. in the 1400 block of West Maxwell. Vallee had been thrown out of the apartment about 6 hours before, according to court documents, saying he'd return to attack those inside the apartment.

While the three men were trying to enter the apartment, a gun was fired into the door jamb. Court documents do not identify the shooter. But VanZandt said he grabbed a fire extinguisher and “sprayed into the apartment so he wouldn't be shot.”

Four people, including the ex-girlfriend, were listed in the apartment at the time.

Officers responding to a phone call from within the apartment watched as VanZandt and Vallee ran from the backdoor of the apartment complex. The two were arrested about a block from the apartment after a foot chase.

A third suspect, described as a Native American male wearing a black T-shirt, gray shorts and a large black backpack in a news release from police, remains at large. Those with information on his whereabouts are asked to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.

VanZandt and Vallee appeared in Spokane Superior Court on charges of first-degree burglary Wednesday afternoon.