Deputies arrested a man in connection with Sunday’s fatal drive-by shooting in the Wandermere area after a high-speed chase through a residential neighborhood in north Spokane.
The chase ended when the suspect’s vehicle crashed in a yard at Monroe Street and Rowan Avenue.
The man who owns that property and several neighbors said police used a pursuit intervention technique, or PIT maneuver, to stop the suspect’s Ford Expedition on Monday evening.
The vehicle crashed through a chain-link fence and demolished part of a low wall made of stacked rocks. Video taken by a bystander shows deputies pinning a man to the ground beside the vehicle as he appears to resist them.
Earlier Monday, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office urged the public to look out for that vehicle, which had been photographed in Wandermere days before the shooting as part of a separate investigation.
The county medical examiner’s office had not released the identity of the woman killed in Sunday’s drive-by shooting, and potential motives for the shooting remained unclear.
Cpl. Mark Gregory, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said he couldn’t immediately disclose the suspect’s identity or provide details about the pursuit. He confirmed a man was in custody and said deputies worked with Spokane police officers.
Tim Miles, who owns the yard where the SUV crashed, said he was in his house and watched through a window as the chase came to an abrupt end. The SUV was traveling east on Rowan when an officer performed a PIT maneuver, hitting the rear end of the SUV and causing the suspect to lose control.
“Better that than flying through here with no stopping,” Miles said, pointing to the Monroe Street intersection where the suspect could have hit other motorists.
Cory Phipps, who lives across the street, said he was barbecuing in his yard when the chase ended.
“I was working the grill, came over to move my sprinkler, and as soon as I leaned down, I started hearing the growl of the tires getting turned. I looked up, and 80 feet away this guy was sideways and – bam! – up on the curb, and he got pinned up against those bushes there,” Phipps said, pointing to a hedge that covers the wall where the SUV crashed.
Phipps and Miles said the suspect climbed out of the driver’s side window and tried to escape on foot before deputies took him to the ground.
“He did run; he just didn’t make it very far,” Miles said. “It all happened within, like, a minute.”
Phipps described the suspect as a tall, skinny white man with full-sleeve tattoos. He said the man’s hair was long on top and shaved on the sides.
The drive-by shooting was reported at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday on Wandermere Road near Elto Avenue. That’s between a tract of single-family homes on the east side of the road and the Blue Point Apartments complex on the west side.
The sheriff’s office said deputies arrived about three minutes after the call but could not find the assailant’s vehicle, which witnesses described as a red truck or SUV.
The victim was driving her own vehicle with two adult passengers when someone in the assailant’s vehicle opened fire on them.
She stopped her car after being struck and was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the sheriff’s office said. The assailant’s vehicle was last seen fleeing south on Wandermere Road.
Before the chase on Monday, the sheriff’s office said detectives had combed through other active investigations and obtained photos of the Ford Expedition that were taken in the area on Friday. Officials have not disclosed who took the photos or why.
The Expedition has the body style made from 1999 to 2002, an Eddie Bauer-edition trim package and a maroon and tan paint job. The band of tan paint on the lower part of the vehicle is thinner than shooting witnesses described, but the sheriff’s office said it wasn’t ruling out a match.
The sheriff’s office said anyone with information about the shooting should call Detective Kirk Keyser at (509) 477-6611.
The sheriff’s office also said Wandermere residents and business owners who have security cameras should check their recordings for images of the SUV.
Specifically, investigators are looking for video recorded Sunday along the Division Street-U.S. Highway 395 corridor between Wedgewood Avenue and Hatch Road. They are looking at the window between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. with a focus on the first two hours of that period.
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