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

Prosecutor: No charges for officers in shooting captured on camera

The Spokane police officers who shot and killed a homicide suspect in April armed with a replica handgun while TV cameras rolled will not face criminal charges, the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday. Jeremy Arnold, 37, appeared at his home in the 2500 block of North Standard Street moments after authorities concluded a news conference about a body discovered at the home. While a KXLY cameraman filmed the encounter, Arnold left his truck with what appeared to be a gun in his hand and was shot dead by police. The officers who fired were Sgt. John Gately, detective Neal Gallion and officer Jay Kernkamp. Gately and Gallion have been with the force for more than 20 years. Kernkamp is a SWAT medic who’s served eight years with the Spokane Police Department. Authorities later identified Arnold as a person of interest in the death of the woman, Tracy Fergerstrom, who was found dead in Arnold’s home. Arnold was carrying a realistic-looking metallic pellet gun at the time he was shot, investigators said. The Spokane Investigative Regional Response team investigated the shooting, with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office leading the investigation. The case was turned over to the Prosecutor’s Office in June, and the decision not to file charges against the officers was announced in a news release Monday. “The officer (sic) clearly had a reasonable belief that they faced a ‘threat of serious physical harm’ from a suspect they had probable cause to believe had committed a recent homicide,” wrote Spokane County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll in his review of the case. “They acted without any ‘evil intent’ and in a good faith belief that their actions were justified. Therefore, no criminal liability attaches and no charges will be filed.” The Prosecutor’s Office has not yet announced whether officers involved in the fatal shooting of Steven Corkery, 30, under similar circumstances a month before Arnold was killed will face charges. Corkery was also armed with a replica gun in a standoff with police captured by a bystander on their cellphone. Authorities later said they’d negotiated with Corkery through his front door before he came out of the home March 26, refusing to put down the replica weapon. Corkery had been implicated in a series of armed robberies prior to the shooting, police said.