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Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Spokane police officers named in shooting

Two of three involved in fatal confrontation interviewed by investigators

Spokane police identified the three officers involved in last week’s shooting of a homicide suspect in Nine Mile Falls.

Officers Jake Jensen, Danny Lesser and Adam Valdez have been placed on paid administrative leave, per department procedures.

From left to right, Lesser, Valdez and Jensen.

This is Valdez’s second officer-involved shooting this year; the seven-year police department veteran shot and killed 52-year-old Jacob Dorfman on the lower South Hill in February. Dorfman had been firing a gun into the air before leading police on a car chase through yards and fences.

Police Spokeswoman Monique Cotton said Valdez was placed on administrative leave following the February shooting. She said she did not know the exact length of his leave but said the minimum is three working days. Officers who have been involved in a shooting must receive approval from a police psychologist and be interviewed by investigators before returning to work. Both of those were done in Valdez’s case, Cotton said.

The investigation into that shooting is completed, but the prosecutor has not ruled on the case.

Thursday’s shooting was Lesser’s fourth officer-involved shooting. The 18-year veteran of the department was cleared of any wrongdoing in the previous incidents.

The shooting was the first for Jensen, who has been on the force for 12 years.

Spokane police released the names of the officers although the sheriff’s office is conducting the investigation into the incident through the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team.

Justin Cairns, 21, died early Thursday morning after being shot by police outside his Nine Mile Falls home. Police said Cairns shot and killed Cyrus C. Jones, 33, on West Grace Avenue earlier that morning.

According to court documents, officers believed Cairns was reaching for a firearm when he was shot at least once and killed.

The sheriff’s office said Monday investigators located a .380 semi-automatic handgun inside Cairns’ bedroom at the residence at 22007 W. Charles Road.

A BB gun, “closely resembling a handgun,” the sheriff’s release said, was located “at the rear of a residence where officers saw Cairns during the foot pursuit.”

Two of the three officers involved have been interviewed, the release said, and arrangements are underway for the third interview.

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