Man who shot himself in Spokane Valley was an aspiring pastor and talented boxer, friend says
Aug. 3, 2016 Updated Wed., Aug. 3, 2016 at 5:41 p.m.
A man who reportedly shot himself in the head Tuesday night during an encounter with sheriff’s deputies in Spokane Valley was an aspiring pastor who had enough skill as a boxer to turn pro.
Former professional boxer Chauncy Welliver said he had known 23-year-old Thomas Allenton since he was a child.
“He was an excellent boxer,” Welliver said. “He had more ability than anyone I’d ever seen.”
Allenton was pulled over about 8:30 p.m. near East Sprague Avenue and North Freya Street for failing to stop at a stop sign, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said. His car was towed after it was determined he was driving with a suspended license. Allenton legally had a concealed handgun and two magazines, Knezovich said.
About nine minutes after Allenton walked away deputies heard reports of shooting in the area. Several more reports came in from different locations over the next two hours.
“We were getting multiple calls of a man with a gun or of shots being fired,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory.
Shortly after 11 p.m., deputies found the man walking with the gun in his hand near East First Avenue and South Farr Road in Spokane Valley.
“When we made contact with him, he put the gun to his head, and we negotiated with him at that point,” Knezovich said.
Deputies shot Allenton twice with nonlethal beanbags after he started walking toward an apartment complex, Knezovich said.
“The subject went down,” Knezovich said. “When he started to come back up, he put the gun back to his head and pulled the trigger.”
Allenton died at the scene.
Welliver said Allenton was in the foster care system before living with friends a few years ago. Welliver gave him a place to stay for more than a year, when Allenton was in school. The young man got a job and was willing to work hard, Welliver said. His dream was to become a pastor.
“He was a natural-born leader,” Welliver said. “When he talked, people came to listen.”
Welliver said he talked to Allenton last week about becoming a professional boxer. His last amateur bout was in October. Welliver told him he was willing to train him and put up money for whatever expenses Allenton needed on the condition that Allenton continue his studies to become a pastor.
“I wanted him to be a good individual, a good human being,” he said. “This is such a shock to me. Thomas had such a great future. I just think he didn’t know that.”
Welliver said he didn’t know why Allenton did what he did Wednesday night.
“Thomas was my friend,” he said. “He was a good kid.”
Allenton’s family released a brief statement Thursday expressing gratitude for the support they have received and asking for privacy.
Allenton’s death is under investigation by the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team.
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