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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Prosecutor clears officers in two 2013 shootings

The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has cleared police officers involved in two separate shootings last year.

Murder suspect Justin Cairns, 21, was shot in Nine Mile Falls on May 16, 2013, by officers Jake Jensen, Danny Lesser and Adam Valdez.

Hit-and-run suspect Danny C. Jones, 40, was shot in his truck in the Salvation Army parking lot in North Spokane on Aug. 22, 2013. Lt. Kevin King and officers Robert Collins, Corey Lyons and Scott Lesser were involved in that shooting.

Police said Jones hit another vehicle twice with his truck and then rammed police vehicles in the parking lot before he was shot.

Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll wrote in his decision that the shootings were justified and that Jones “posed a threat of serious physical harm to officers or others. A motor vehicle can be used as a deadly weapon.” Officers ordered Jones out of the truck several times and he refused to comply, Driscoll wrote. Two of the three cars Jones rammed were occupied.

Police believe Cairns shot and killed Cyrus C. Jones, 33, in the 1400 block of West Grace Avenue. They quickly tracked Cairns to a home in Nine Mile Falls and there was a confrontation outside the home. Driscoll wrote in his decision that Cairns was apparently listening to a scanner and confronted police in his yard. He reportedly told police to shoot him and reached for something in his waistband.

The item was a cellphone, but officers believed Cairns was armed and fired, Driscoll wrote.

“They were facing a resistive suspect, who disregarded multiple commands to give up, whom they suspected of recently using deadly force during a homicide, constituting a ‘threat of serious physical harm,’ ” Driscoll wrote. “The suspect’s actions immediately prior to being shot could be reasonably construed as intending to make the officers believe he was armed.”