A deputy prosecutor was knocked down Thursday morning when she tried to break up a fistfight in the Spokane County Courthouse.
Deputy Prosecutor Kim Concannon was punched on both sides of the jaw by one or more partisans in a gang-related murder case. Colleagues said Concannon, who was taken to a hospital, had recently undergone treatment for a bad back.
Spokane Police Officer Sue Mann said Concannon was in pain, but remained conscious. Officers identified the person believed to have punched Concannon as 23-year-old Michael Paul Gordon, brother of first-degree murder suspect Dustin Allen Davis, 18.
The incident remained under investigation and no arrests were made.
Concannon told officers she didn’t think Gordon punched her deliberately the first time she was hit, and she wasn’t sure who hit her the second time, Mann said.
According to Mann, the other combatant was Chris Silva, 50, father of Davis’ alleged victim, Frank J. Silva.
Witnesses said the melee occurred immediately after Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor arraigned Davis. About 15 friends and relatives of both Davis and Frank Silva watched from O’Connor’s courtroom while Davis made his appearance via closed-circuit television from the county jail.
Staff members said O’Connor used the television link to call for help when the hearing was over and she heard fighting in the hallway.
Concannon had no connection to the case.
“She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Ron Gibb, Judge Linda Tompkins’ bailiff, who helped restore order.
Concannon first stepped across the hallway to Judge Neal Rielly’s courtroom and directed Rielly’s staff to call security, according to Leslie Busch, a clerk in training. Busch said Concannon returned to the hallway while Rielly’s clerk, Kelly Shearer, called for help.
Rielly’s court reporter, Ronelle Corbey, pushed a “panic button” that sends an alarm directly to police.
“I was pushing this button as much as I could,” Corbey said. “You quickly forget the Atlanta problems (in which a court reporter, a judge and a sheriff’s officer were shot to death by a defendant), and it comes rushing back at you. You can’t be too careful.”
Busch said she saw a man with corn-rowed hair rushing toward someone near Concannon, “and then I saw her on the floor.”
With a group of Freeman High School students on a field trip as an audience, the corn-rowed suspect threw punches. Shearer — alone at that point — pushed on the suspect’s shoulders to separate him from the man he was fighting.
Moments later, Gibb stumbled onto the melee and helped Shearer.
“I just approached who I thought was the loudest,” Gibb said. Gibb stood nose to nose with Silva and ordered him to sit down, and Silva refused. The situation was tense, but several sheriff’s deputies quickly arrived.
The man believed to be Michael Gordon made a hasty exit and others in the crowd followed, revealing Concannon sprawled on the floor. Details of her condition were not immediately available.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.