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Thursday, November 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane officer cleared in fatal shooting

The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Police Officer Dan Lesser has been cleared in the fatal shooting of car thief suspect Johnnie Longest.

After Longest fired a gun at police officers and bystanders, the officer fired back. The suspect died from a single gun shot wound that entered his back just right of his spine near the middle of the back, officials said.

Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll determined the location of the bullet wound was “consistent with what (a witness) saw - Longest being hit in the back as his arm was extended toward the officers and the dog as he was firing.”

Driscoll said Longest was a threat to police and civilians on the night of March 17, which justified the officer’s decision to shoot.

The incident began when police spotted Longest driving recklessly in a stolen Honda Civic that night.

When an officer tried to stop him, the driver attempted to elude police. After disappearing into an alley, the Honda reappeared and then got high centered on a concrete divider along Division.

Longest fled and was tracked by Var, a police K-9, to an alley at Lacrosse Avenue. The dog went after Longest, and Austin tried to restrain Longest, but Longest pulled a .22-caliber handgun and shot Var twice, police officials said.

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