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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Body of Sandpoint man who drowned found

The body of a Sandpoint man who drowned in Lake Pend Oreille was found Wednesday morning.

Jeremy Heckert, 38, was pulled out of the lake around 11:30 a.m. near Hope, Idaho. Heckert was about 135 feet underwater earlier in the morning when a search team using sonar detected his body, Bonner County Undersheriff David Hale said.

Heckert, who was not wearing a life vest, had been fishing with a friend on July 10. The friend told investigators Heckert dove into the water to cool off and sober up.

Some of the friend’s statements to investigators were inconsistent, and he may have been intoxicated, but he is not suspected of a crime, Hale said.

Chad Sokol

Man who shot at police enters guilty, Alford pleas

An Arizona man accused of shooting at North Idaho police officers on Interstate 90 last year has accepted a pretrial settlement.

Marcus Rael, 25, entered guilty pleas last week to four counts of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and six Alford pleas for the same charge. In the Alford pleas, he admitted no guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

Prosecutors say Rael refused to stop when Coeur d’Alene police officers tried to pull him over on June 22, 2014, for driving under the influence of drugs. After a freeway chase to Post Falls, they say, Rael began shooting at officers. No officers were injured in the shootout. Rael was shot and injured. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 115 years.

Staff and wire reports

Officer’s name released after restaurant shooting

Spokane police have released the name of the officer who shot at and missed a burglary suspect Tuesday at a Chinese restaurant on North Division Street.

Officer James Erickson, a 19-year veteran of the Spokane Police Department, fired multiple times at the suspect, 34-year-old Cephas Parham, who allegedly brandished a fake gun. Erickson missed but later arrested Parham during a violent struggle outside the Peking North restaurant.

Erickson is a decorated officer, having been awarded a state Medal of Honor and a Spokane Police Department Medal of Valor in 2002 for his actions in an August 2001 incident in which he, along with Officer Shane Oien, fatally shot a gunman who had fired on police downtown in the Peyton Building.

Erickson also received a Lifesaving Medal in 1999 after he arrived at a scene and found a man hanging from a tree with a cord around his neck. Erickson was able to lift the man and untie the cord to save his life.

Chad Sokol

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