After graduating from the University of Washington in 1996, Dean Bellamy moved back home to Spokane and embarked on a promising career in banking. Friends called him “brilliant.”
But his business dealings were contentious, and Bellamy eventually lost his job as a vice president of RiverBank, which he co-founded in 2006. As his second marriage crumbled, he filed for a $1.3 million bankruptcy in December.
Although Bellamy was never convicted of a violent crime, court records paint a picture of man who sank into a deep depression, heavy drinking and lashing out – often physically – at his wife. After one incident at his Colbert home in 2015, she warned Spokane County sheriff’s deputies that Bellamy “would be very ‘combative’ and would ‘go out in a blaze of glory’ if he heard sirens approaching the residence.”
Bellamy, 47, died Monday night after a four-hour standoff with deputies at his home at 18718 N. Leslie Lane. It was the third time a SWAT team was called in to deal with domestic violence there.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Bellamy – whom he did not identify by name – opened fire on deputies after they tried to subdue him with a “less-lethal” impact round. One of Bellamy’s bullets pierced the shoulder of the sergeant who leads the SWAT team. Deputies fired back, but it’s not clear if their bullets are what killed Bellamy, whose body was later found inside the home by a police robot, or if he committed suicide.
The name of the injured sergeant was not released, but Knezovich said the bullet was surgically removed Tuesday morning at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and he is expected to recover.
“It’s a story about someone who was a really hard worker and had great aspirations, and his world caved in around him,” said Rob Brewster Jr., a Spokane developer who had known Bellamy since the late 1990s. “Something happened in the last couple of years. … Something got him.”
They worked on several projects together, including a renovation of the six-story Holley-Mason building in downtown Spokane, and Brewster said Bellamy was a close friend.
“He was a really good guy,” Brewster said. “It’s just unbelievable that he got so far away from who he really was. I know he was making a concerted effort to recover.”
Bellamy was a vice president of Spokane-based AmericanWest Bank in 2003 when he and his family moved into the Colbert home, a sprawling residence with a three-car garage surrounded by evergreen trees.
Several years later he borrowed a large sum to buy stock in RiverBank – an investment that plummeted in value during the recession, Brewster said. “All of a sudden he’s sitting out there with a couple of million dollars in loans that he can’t pay back.”
Bellamy left the bank soon afterward.
“He got into some tiffs with some people on the board” of directors, said Brewster, whose father served on the board. “He either quit or was fired – I never did find that out – and that really started his emotional downfall.”
In his December bankruptcy filings, Bellamy said the home was in foreclosure and claimed he had been wrongfully fired from a tree care and removal company where he worked for a few months in 2015, around the time of his first arrest.
Court records from 2015 say Bellamy was “despondent about the end of the marriage and a business failure” and repeatedly threatened to kill himself and others with his 10 mm pistol. His second wife moved to Arizona to get away from him, according to court records, and he bought multiple “burner” or pre-paid cellphones to contact her and warn her not to cooperate with prosecutors.
Bellamy had depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease, according to court records. At one point in 2015, he was involuntarily committed for a mental health evaluation.
In the bankruptcy filings, Bellamy claimed he had made a “civil liberty case” against the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, which “falsely accused” him of domestic violence.
“No adequate investigation ensued,” he wrote. “Health issues followed.”
Pat McCarthy said the system failed Bellamy.
The pair had been friends since they met at Salk Middle School and enjoyed fishing together. Like Brewster, McCarthy said he had noticed changes in Bellamy’s behavior in recent years.
“I spoke to him a few weeks ago and he seemed to be struggling with stuff, but he was trying to right himself,” McCarthy said.
Between court hearings and stints in jail, Bellamy had been in and out of mental health treatment, McCarthy said.
“How all of that happened, and how they weren’t able to get him help, that’s a mystery to me. The services failed him,” McCarthy said. “The only thing I’m thinking about right now is Dean’s family and how they’re dealing with this tragedy.”
The shooting is under investigation by the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team, which includes members of the Sheriff’s Office, the Spokane Police Department and the Washington State Patrol.
Staff writer Jonathan Glover contributed to this report.