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Tuesday, October 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Family feared that man killed at Coeur d’Alene bank branch would ‘escalate’

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 14, 2018, 6:29 p.m.

Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Jared Reneau gives a news briefing Saturday outside the Global Credit Union Coeur d’Alene branch, where a suspect was shot by a security guard. The suspect has been identified as Joshua R. Martz, 34, of Coeur d’Alene. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Jared Reneau gives a news briefing Saturday outside the Global Credit Union Coeur d’Alene branch, where a suspect was shot by a security guard. The suspect has been identified as Joshua R. Martz, 34, of Coeur d’Alene. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Long before he brought a gun to the same Global Credit Union in Coeur d’Alene where he had worked just two months prior, Joshua R. Martz had been stalking his ex-wife and making her fear that he was going to “escalate,” court records show.

Coeur d’Alene Police on Monday identified Martz, 34, as the man who went armed with a gun into the Global Credit Union branch on Neider Avenue at about 1 p.m. Saturday, just as the business was about to close.

The first news release from bank officials indicated that Martz started firing after he entered the credit union wearing dark clothing and a full-face-shield. A security guard then shot Martz three times and he collapsed as he tried to flee and died, according to the Coeur d’Alene Police.

“This could have been a much different story if we didn’t have that security guard on site,” Global Credit Union CEO Jack Fallis said. “I’m thankful we had him there and he acted in a manner that protected innocent lives.”

Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Jared Reneau referred to the case as an attempted robbery and would not confirm Tuesday whether Martz or the security guard fired the first shots. Reneau did say, however, that the confrontation was captured by the bank’s security camera.

“We haven’t released the details of that yet … because there is still a lot of investigating to do,” Reneau said. “We have the crime itself. We are also working to ensure whether they were justified in everything that happened.”

Fallis said he and branch officials decided to bring in the security guard in direct response to Martz’s walking off the job in June. He had worked for the branch for about three months prior to leaving on his own accord, he said.

“I just had a bad feeling about some of his actions and some of his comments,” Fallis said. “To protect my employees, we hired a security guard.”

Fallis said he knew that Martz had been having family issues.

“I was aware that he was going through a nasty divorce during the time that he was employed,” Fallis said.

Fallis also knew that Martz was sentenced to serve a day in jail in May after a Spokane Municipal Court Judge ruled that he had violated the terms of a protection order filed by his ex-wife.

“I heard about that. It was while he was an employee,” Fallis said. But, the bank officials did not terminate his job as a result.

“We didn’t ask him to leave,” Fallis said. Martz “left his employment voluntarily.”

Court files from the divorce describe him as a father of two young boys who struggled to control his anger, especially while drinking. Once the divorce was finalized in 2017, his ex-wife filed a protection order against Martz.

She described how, during their marriage, that she would sometimes have to lock herself in her own bedroom “while he was intoxicated and yelling and threatening to beat in the door.”

“Josh previously asked me if I ‘wanted to go to the hospital’ while arguing,” she continued. “Josh has a history of drugs/alcohol abuse. Josh’s pattern of behaviors are escalating and I’m worried they are going to continue to escalate.”

She did not respond to an emailed request for an interview.

In court records she said several other family members witnessed Martz when he punched a car door and another time when he broke his hand while punching a closet door.

During the divorce proceedings, Martz sent his ex-wife text messages that indicated he was considering taking his own life.

“I called the police and they responded and found Josh with a rifle,” she wrote in court records. “He was taken to Kootenai Medical Center and his guns were taken from the home and put with his parents.”

Then in April her mother also sought a court order seeking to renew the protection order because she claimed Martz had “continued harassment and stalking behavior. He has violated the original order multiple times,” she wrote.

The former mother-in-law also wrote about how Martz would send cards to his boys, ages 5 and 3, and leave messages that appeared to be intended for their mother.

“Soon you’ll know the truth about who you are and why certain things happened,” Martz wrote, according to the mother-in-law.

The files also include cards that Martz sent his boys on Easter, hoping they “have a little fun with the bunny and candy.”

But it was the ongoing texts, visits to his ex-wife’s new church and messages to friends that scared the women.

“Josh has always used the children to try to hurt and or control” their mother, the court records state. “Josh’s behavior escalates and becomes more threatening in nature when he feels he isn’t in control. I fear for my daughter’s safety and that of my grandsons.”

The former mother-in-law also wrote that Martz previously lost his job at Spokane Teachers Credit Union for accessing “accounts that he had no reason to view.”

STCU spokesman Dan Hansen confirmed those allegations, saying Martz had worked for STCU as a consumer loan underwriter from November 6 to January 5.

“STCU policy strictly prohibits staff from accessing any member accounts for reasons unrelated to helping that member,” Hansen said. Martz “was terminated for accessing relatives’ accounts.”

He added: “We are grateful that none of our colleagues at Global were hurt during this tragic incident.”

Reporter Jonathan Glover contributed to this report

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