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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: SWAT team catches suspect napping

From Staff Reports

A SWAT team broke into a shooting suspect’s Coeur d’Alene apartment Thursday and found him asleep in a back bedroom.

“He slept through a fairly large bang when (the police) broke in,” Sgt. Christie Wood of the Coeur d’Alene Police Department said.

Zebulon R. Batke, 33, allegedly fired into a duplex where his ex-girlfriend lives in the 700 block of Third Street at 2:30 Thursday morning. No one was injured in the shooting.

Police cornered Batke in his apartment at 3825 Ramsey Road, just south of Kathleen Avenue in Coeur d’Alene, and an hourslong standoff ensued.

After breaking into the apartment, police found Batke had barricaded himself in his room. He was armed with a fully loaded AK-47 assault rifle, a loaded .357 magnum pistol and a single-shot shotgun.

Batke was arrested and charged with two counts of shooting into an occupied residence and one count of aggravated assault. All are felonies.

Event celebrates reuniting parents, kids

The Spokane Parent Advocacy Network is holding a celebration to honor parents involved with Child Protective Services reuniting with their children.

Children and all caretakers – birth parents, relative caregivers and foster parents – are welcome, as well as social service professionals. The reunification celebration takes place Saturday from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition.

The purpose is to celebrate the dedication it takes birth parents to regain custody of their children, acknowledge those that support the parents along the way, give hope to parents currently involved in the child welfare system, and inform the community that people do change and families can reunite, according to organizers.

From 2007 to 2010, nearly 13,200 children in Washington were reunited with their parents, according to a Spokane Parent Advocacy Network news release. That’s two-and-half times the number of children adopted during the same period.

The first 120 people to RSVP will be served free food. There will be door prizes and “fun stuff” for the whole family, the news release said. Certificates will be offered to parents who have reunified with their children.

To RSVP, call 228-3242 or email S-P-A-N@live.com.

Police investigate licensing agent

A vehicle licensing agent in Spokane is under criminal investigation for a series of irregularities in transactions with vehicle owners, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said Thursday.

Al Paulsen Licensing Inc. at 5202 N. Market St. has been shut down after money was found missing in the transactions, and the agency is under criminal investigation, Dalton said.

The case has been turned over to Spokane Police.

“It’s not just one transaction, it’s multiple transactions,” Dalton said. “There may be criminal charges come out of it.”

She said victims may include both the state, which licenses vehicles and collects fees, but also vehicle owners who sought various types of licenses.

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