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Monday, November 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Officer believed suspect had gun

Firearm found where Cairns jumped fence

A homicide suspect shot and killed by Spokane police officers Thursday died in front of his home after running from officers.

The investigation of an earlier fatal shooting led officers to 22007 W. Charles Road, the home of Justin A. Cairns, 21, where officers found his truck and spotted him in a field behind the Nine Mile Falls home.

Police believe Cairns shot Cyrus C. Jones, 33, in Spokane earlier that morning. Officers responded to what they initially thought was a pedestrian hit by a car.

Witnesses described the shooter’s vehicle to officers as a brown GMC truck that officers determined was registered to Cairns at the Nine Mile Falls address.

Jones died at a local hospital less than an hour later. Witnesses told police they had heard two or three shots.

A witness saw Cairns’ truck pull up to the 1428 W. Grace Ave. house and then leave. It stopped one block west and then the witness heard at least two shots. The witness approached the truck, but Cairns pointed what appeared to be a gun at him, court records said.

Cairns asked the witness, “You want some too?” and drove away, first west on Grace Avenue and then north onto Maple Street, witnesses said. They then saw Jones lying in the roadway with gunshot wounds.

Officers drove to Nine Mile Falls, 20 miles northwest of the initial shooting, and found the truck at the registered address. Some officers went to the back of the house, where they saw Cairns walking out of the house, the documents say.

Previous reports said Cairns turned off the lights at the home while officers waited for backup resources.

Officer James Christensen told Cairns to put his hands up and get down on his knees, but Cairns pointed at him with one hand and moved his other hand toward his waistband before running away and jumping a fence, detectives wrote. Christensen believed Cairns was reaching for a firearm based on prior experience, he told detectives.

Christensen informed officers at the front of the house that Cairns was coming their way. As the other officers confronted him around the front of the house, Christensen heard the officers identifying themselves and about five gunshots. Cairns was struck at least once, apparently in the head, detectives said. He died at the scene.

A semiautomatic gun was found in the grass where Cairns had jumped the fence, detectives said. Police Chief Frank Straub said Thursday that a .380 handgun was found at the scene and that .380 bullet casings were found near where Jones was shot.

The officers involved in the shooting have not been identified.

Detectives also seized a plastic handgun at the residence, according to court records. They also found bullets lodged in the home’s deck and garage.

Detectives also seized a substance they described as “possibly meth” from Cairns’ truck.

Cairns had no adult criminal record. He was accused of stealing his stepfather’s handgun as a minor in 2007 before going for a joyride in his grandfather’s car, court records said.

The teenager allegedly fired shots while driving down Coulee-Hite Road, hitting a home, according to court records, but charges were later dismissed.

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