The law enforcement officer who shot an armed motorist during a gunfight last week was identified today as Deputy Jeff Thurman, a 13-year veteran of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office with numerous awards and citations.
Thurman is a K-9 handler who also had six years of law enforcement experience before joining the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, the department said today.
On Friday night, during a traffic stop at North Barker Road and East Cataldo Avenue, the driver fled on foot after giving several false names to the officer, authorities have said. Thurman’s police dog, Laslo, caught up with the suspect and took him to the ground. When Thurman reached down to take the man into custody, the suspect reportedly rolled, drew a gun and fired at the deputy. Thurman returned fire.
The suspect, whose identity is still being withheld by authorities, was taken to a Spokane hospital. No condition report was provided today.
Thurman has been involved in various high-profile cases over the years.
Most recently, he was instrumental in helping apprehend a suspect in a rash of December robberies targeting Salvation Army red charity kettles.
He also has been involved in previous shootings.
Thurman was among six deputies who fired on distraught Army veteran Jed Zillmer during an armed standoff near Spokane Valley Mall in February 2014.
In 2008, he wounded a fugitive during a gun battle after finding the armed felon hiding in a backyard at night.
A year later, on a lighter note, he made news again after pulling over a speeding motorist along Upriver Drive and discovered the vehicle was being driven by then-Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. Thurman wrote her a $154 ticket for exceeding the speed limit.
He also is a tactical flight officer for the Sheriff’s Office helicopter and was the 2013 national tactical officer of the year for the Airborne Law Enforcement Association.
Here’s a list of the commendations and accomplishments that the Sheriff’s Office says Thurman has received:
• Sheriff’s Star Award Recipient-2014
• Unit Merit Award-Spokane Regional Air Support Unit as an Air-1 TFO, 2014
• Emergency Vehicle Operations and Control (EVOC) Co-Lead Instructor and Subject Matter Expert for Pursuit Review
• Former Sheriff’s Office Field Training Officer
• Former Patrol Procedures Instructor
• Chief Tactical Flight Officer for SCSO Air 1
• Received the 2013 National Tactical Flight Officer of the Year Award by the Airborne Law Enforcement Association
• Received a Certificate of Appreciation in 2010 for his professionalism and patience
• Received Certificates of Commendation in 2011 and 2012 for his excellent work
• He’s received over 15 letters internally documenting his good work and professionalism
• 6 years of previous law enforcement experience before joining SCSO
The SIRR Team’s investigation of the incident is ongoing.
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