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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

Spokane police try to unravel circumstances after man shot in legs

Three weeks ago, a man drove himself to the Spokane County Jail with a bullet wound in each leg. He was paranoid, and police couldn’t get him to answer questions until he was loaded into an ambulance.

Court records describe a series of bizarre events involving 53-year-old Alan Oliver, who was apparently shot in the early hours of July 20 near First Avenue and Thor Street. Detectives still are searching for the person or persons responsible.

The first call came in five minutes after midnight. A man told police Oliver was living in a tent in his backyard, and “Oliver had become increasingly paranoid and was talking about people trying to get him and assassins,” court records say.

An officer spoke with Oliver and filed a report. Then, at 1:42 a.m., another call: shots fired near First and Thor. Witnesses told responding officers they watched a sedan pull up behind a truck or SUV and then heard several gunshots.

One witness said a black man had stepped out of the truck and fired at the sedan, but Oliver gave a different account. According to court records, Oliver didn’t mention a sedan. He said three men had confronted him, and one shot him while he was seated in his truck.

Oliver arrived at the jail about 10 minutes after the shooting, court records say. There were several bullet holes in the driver’s side of his 1983 Ford pickup.

After riding with Oliver in the back of an ambulance, an officer wrote, “Oliver mentioned that he believed his mother and girlfriend put out a hit on him. He said he was both a hero and a patsy and compared himself to Jesus. He said God told him a month ago that this was going to happen.”

A detective reviewed security footage of the intersection from a nearby bank. He wrote that a sedan pulled alongside Oliver’s truck at the same time a man in a white shirt was running toward them. The truck then sped west on First, and the man got into the sedan, which went east.

A week after the shooting, the detective interviewed the man who lived with Oliver. According to court records, the man said Oliver “was in complete psycho mode” on the night of July 19 and “suspected that he must have confronted someone and got himself shot.”

Oliver “had been walking around his house armed with a knife and acting very paranoid,” court records say. “He had been using so much methamphetamine and was so paranoid he was afraid to go to sleep.”

Oliver has a criminal history in Spokane dating to the early 1990s. According to court records, he suggested to a detective that “homeless Joe” or “Bob” was responsible for the shooting.

The records conclude, “Bob may be involved in this incident.”

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