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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Investigation ongoing after fatal officer-involved shooting in northwest Spokane

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 5, 2017

Law enforcement officers stand near the body of a man shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting in the Shadle Walmart parking lot, Wed., Oct. 4, 2017. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Law enforcement officers stand near the body of a man shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting in the Shadle Walmart parking lot, Wed., Oct. 4, 2017. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A day after a man was killed by police in the Shadle Walmart parking lot, the Spokane Police Department is still mum on the events that led to the fatal shooting.

The man, whose identity has not been released, was apparently driving an SUV that had been violently stolen Monday morning in northeast Spokane. Police wouldn’t say then what led to the suspect shooting a man and stealing his car, or if the act was random. They also wouldn’t confirm whether they were looking for any suspects.

On Wednesday evening, officers spotted the vehicle in the Walmart parking lot just before 5 p.m., said police Chief Craig Meidl. He said officers observed the car while backup arrived, and when the driver tried to pull out and leave, they boxed him and his passenger in with their vehicles.

Police shouted orders for the occupants to get out of the vehicle, but the driver did not comply, Meidl said. Two police officers opened fire and he was shot, the police chief said.

In a video recorded moments after the shooting by witness Leo Maus, at least seven officers can be seen surrounding the SUV, their guns drawn. Two of the officers are standing close together near the passenger door, which is open, while a group of three officers slowly rotate around the back side of the vehicle, toward the driver’s side door.

“They just shot that dude, in that car right there,” Maus said in the video. “They just shot and killed him. And they’re not even helping him.”

A woman can be heard asking Maus if he saw them shoot the man.

“I was over there and I heard boom, boom, boom,” he said.

After the shooting, Meidl told media that, based on the potential risks the suspects presented to the community, officers “felt like we could not let this vehicle leave.” The shooting was captured on at least one officer’s body camera.

On Thursday, Officer Joshua Laiva, spokesman for the police department, declined to say whether the man who stole the SUV on Monday was a risk to the community, or if the robbery was random.

“It is one of those things, with the way the incident rolled out, we don’t know the correlation between the involved parties,” he said. “I can’t say there’s no threat to the community there because of the severity of the incident.”

Laiva said he couldn’t comment on the details of the robbery that led to police shooting the man in Shadle.

“Again, they are still ongoing investigations,” he said. “We are still working to find out what happened.”

Police would not comment on the extent of the robbery victim’s injuries on Monday and again on Thursday.

Staff writers Chad Sokol and Kip Hill contributed to this report.

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