A suspected auto thief was shot Saturday morning after opening fire on officers during a standoff outside a north Spokane home.
The man died later of his injuries at a local hospital. His identity will be released by the Spokane County medical examiner after an autopsy has been completed.
Spokane police Chief Frank Straub said the suspect was linked to an auto theft earlier last week and was spotted by officers Saturday morning. They followed him to a home at 616 E. Sanson Ave. at about 10:30 a.m., leading to an hourlong standoff.
Numerous residents heard the commotion and saw events unfold.
Neighbor Fonda Hoyt said she heard police calling for the man to come out after they surrounded the home. She heard gunshots that Straub later said were fired by the suspect at police, then saw the police department’s armored personnel carrier speeding around the corner, smashing through police tape and barricades.
“They just barreled over” the barricades, she said.
Two minutes after the initial gunshots the man came outside, Straub said.
“As he ran out the front door, he began firing on officers,” he said.
Several officers returned fire. Witnesses said they saw officers performing CPR on the man before he was taken away in an ambulance. No officers were injured
Hoyt said she saw the man running and fall to the ground.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.
Witnesses said they saw a woman wearing a purple tank top standing just outside the police tape who took off running toward the house as gunfire erupted and had to be tackled and restrained by police.
Jodi Schafer lives directly across the street from the home where the man was hiding inside. She said she got a call from police telling her to leave her home for her own safety.
“I left probably 10 minutes before the shooting started,” she said.
Schafer said the man didn’t live at the home but had been a visitor in the past. She believes he is the ex-boyfriend of a younger woman who sometimes lives at the home and said the two would sometimes get in screaming arguments that resulted in police being called.
“I hadn’t seen him in quite a while,” she said.
There was a flurry of activity at the scene again shortly after 5 p.m. Spokane police spokesman Cpl. Jordan Ferguson said investigators were serving a search warrant at a home near the house where the shooting occurred to collect evidence related to the shooting and were “met with resistance.”
Officers requested a battering ram, but were able to resolve the issue without having the break the door down, Ferguson said.
In addition to his suspected links to a recent auto theft, Straub said, the man had numerous prior criminal convictions. He was also wanted on a federal warrant for a probation violation on firearms charges.
Straub said he did not know if any of the officers at the scene were wearing body cameras.
The shooting is being investigated by the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team, with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office taking the lead investigative role.
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