One of the Spokane Police Department’s assault-style AR-15 rifles was stolen from an off-duty officer’s personal vehicle last month, and an investigation has led to an arrest in the case.
Authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into the theft and an internal affairs investigation into whether any policies were violated, Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller said.
The gun had not been recovered as of Tuesday afternoon, but investigators were following leads, Fuller said.
Officers arrested Cody A. Dewitt, 21, on June 29 in connection with the theft. Dewitt faces charges of second-degree theft of a firearm and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Fuller said the gun was stolen June 20 in a parking area at Riverside State Park. The officer, who was not identified, went for a walk with a friend for about 20 minutes and had concealed the department-issue rifle from being seen from outside the truck. The officer was scheduled to work that evening, which is why the weapon was in his personal vehicle, Fuller said.
The truck was locked, but the officer discovered a rear window broken and the weapon missing when he returned.
Officials react to rise in whooping cough
Whooping cough is on the rise in Spokane County, and health officials are urging people to get vaccinated.
Twenty-eight cases of whooping cough have been reported in the county this year, compared to five reported cases in the same period last year. Ten cases were reported in June.
Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a serious illness that begins with a cough and runny nose. Children may have rapid coughing spells that end with a whooping sound. Symptoms typically are less severe in adults, though the cough can last for weeks.
Pertussis is cyclical and outbreaks occur every three to five years. Vaccination remains the best tool for preventing the disease, especially for babies, who often catch it from adults, said Dr. Joel McCullough, the Spokane Regional Health District’s health officer.
Whooping cough vaccines are recommended for all children and adults. Babies get their first dose at 2 months old and need a series of shots for the best protection. A single Tdap vaccination is recommended for adults 19 and older.
Visit srhd.org/whoopingcough for more information.
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