Antonio Davis, a 25-year-old man who was shot by Spokane Police officers early Monday while attempting to flee after a short vehicle chase, was shot because he started to turn towards one of the officers, a detective wrote in a recently released search warrant.
Detective R.L. Spangler wrote the warrant on behalf of the two responding officers, Chris McMurtrey and Tucker Seitz. The two officers were identified in court documents, which also detailed how Davis crashed the 2013 Dodge Avenger he was driving into a tree on Sinto Avenue. He had led police on high-speed chase near North Monroe Street, then attempted to jump over a fence as he fled on foot.
That’s when, Spangler writes, “Davis turned toward one of the officers, at which time the officer fired his duty firearm two times, striking Davis.” Davis was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center with an injury to his arm. Two spent shell casings were found at the scene.
It’s unclear through court documents which officer fired his weapon at Davis. In the police affidavit accompanying Davis’ first appearance in court, McMurtrey made no mention in his written testimony that Davis was shot during his apprehension. Seitz’s account was not included in the affidavit.
Davis’ mother, Vannessa Smith, said after her son’s first court appearance Tuesday that things weren’t quite as simple as the officers made it seem in written testimony. She said her son was confused after crashing the car, and didn’t hear the officers shouting to “stay right there,” as she was told by the vehicle’s passenger, who is also Davis’ girlfriend. She said she plans to hire a lawyer for her son.
“The cops shot at him three or four times, not once like they told the news,” she said, referring to a short news conference Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl held after the shooting. “They shot him just because he started to run.”
In a statement sent to media Tuesday, Spokane Police said they would not answer any further questions about the shooting. They said all further communication will come from the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team, which is made up of investigators from multiple law enforcement agencies.
The shooting, which was captured on body camera, is being investigated by Washington State Patrol. Trooper Jeff Sevigney said early Monday morning that more information on the incident likely would be available Wednesday.
In court Tuesday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel set Davis’ bond at $75,000, citing a lack of ties to the community. Davis was originally stopped by police Monday morning for an active warrant out of Reno, Nevada, where he is apparently wanted for an armed robbery charge.
Smith said prosecutors had it wrong, though, when they said he still lived in Reno. She said he moved several months ago and has been staying in Spokane ever since. She said he has a sister and a daughter living here, in addition to herself.
“He lives here,” she said. “In Spokane. Not Nevada.”
During their search of the scene and Davis’ car, police found two handguns: one in the glove compartment, which Smith said is registered to Davis but he isn’t supposed to own since he was a wanted fugitive, and one in an alley behind the parking lot, near where the car’s passenger had run. Police wrote that they assumed it belonged to Davis’ passenger.
Furthering Smith’s frustration with her son’s injury was the apparent detail that Davis was unarmed when he was shot by police.
“He’s in pain,” she said. “He told me he just wants to die. That’s where he’s at.”
Editor’s note: This story was changed on Sept. 20, 2017 to correct the spelling of Sharp Avenue.
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