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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Driver of stolen SUV shot, killed by Spokane police at Shadle Center

Spokane police fatally shot a man Wednesday evening in the parking lot of the Shadle Center Walmart.

Chief Craig Meidl said the man was armed with a handgun and was driving an SUV that had been stolen two days earlier. Meidl said the owner of the vehicle remained hospitalized Wednesday with at least two gunshot wounds from the carjacking.

The carjacking victim has not been publicly identified. Meidl said the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the name of the man shot by police.

Meidl said officers spotted the stolen Ford Explorer in the Walmart parking lot just before 5 p.m. Wednesday and watched it while waiting for backup to arrive.

“We had put a bulletin out to the entire agency asking our officers to be on the lookout for this vehicle,” he said.

The waiting officers observed “multiple people in and around the vehicle – at least two, possibly three,” he said.

When the driver tried to pull out of the parking lot with a female passenger, officers boxed in the SUV and it struck one of their vehicles, Meidl said.

Based on the potential risks the suspects presented to the community, he said, “we felt like we could not let this vehicle leave.”

Officers shouted orders and a woman got out of the SUV, but the driver, a man, would not comply, Meidl said. Two officers opened fire and he was shot, he said.

Leo Maus, who lives in the Shadle neighborhood, said at least one officer shot through the front passenger window of the Explorer. Maus also said he captured the shooting on video, but his cellphone died.

Clif Collier, a 78-year-old Air Force veteran who keeps a journal filled with detailed notes about his daily whereabouts and activities, said he walked out of the Walmart at precisely 5:11 p.m.

Collier said he didn’t notice any confrontation until he got into his minivan, which was parked a few spaces away from the Explorer. Once in the driver’s seat, Collier said, he heard several officers shouting orders and watched them closing in on the Explorer with their guns drawn.

“Then it dawned on me: If they’re going to start shooting, I’d better back off,” Collier said.

He threw the minivan into reverse and parked it several rows away. Then shots rang out and dozens of other officers arrived, he said.

Medics were called to the scene and attempted to revive the man, but he was pronounced dead in the parking lot within an hour.

Meidl said the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office will lead the investigation into the incident.

Few details of Monday’s carjacking have been released, but police said it happened around 11:30 a.m. in the 8200 block of North Crestline Street, just inside city limits.