A man was killed Thursday outside the House of Charity, shot by police after approaching officers with a knife and urging them to “kill me, kill me,” witnesses said.
Police responded to a report of a suicidal man shortly after 7 p.m., Spokane Police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said.
Prior to the shooting, the man was sitting slumped against the wall at the downtown shelter with the knife, said Gary Kelley, who witnessed the shooting.
Three officers arrived on scene. The man faced officers and held a knife to his chest, police said. Officer Teresa Fuller said the man approached officers, and one officer deployed his Taser, but it was ineffective. The man continued toward the officers, and two of them fired, Fuller said. The man was struck twice. The knife was found on the ground next to his body after the shooting.
Fuller said police believe that the man who was shot originally called police to the scene, telling a dispatcher that he wanted to hurt himself.
After the shooting, other people at the House of Charity became “unruly and confrontational,” DeRuwe said. Officers on scene put out a “99” call, asking all available officers to respond. The scene was brought under control, and no one else was injured, she said. One person was arrested.
The Washington State Patrol and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the scene. The sheriff’s office will take the lead in investigating the incident.
David Snyder, a witness who is staying at the House of Charity, said he did not believe officers needed to shoot the man, but he acknowledged the man was “in a rage” and that “he charged, no doubt.”
“He wanted them to kill him,” Snyder said. “They were trying to make him stand down.”
Snyder said the man was homeless and staying at the House of Charity.
Kelley, who knew the man who was shot, said the man was struck by two bullets in the head. The man was normally calm, but had recently broken up with a girlfriend, Kelley said.
Fuller said three officers at the scene at the time of the shooting were wearing body cameras, although she didn’t know if they were on during the shooting.
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