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WATCH: Spokane police release footage of October officer-involved shooting that left suicidal man dead

April 7, 2020 Updated Tue., April 7, 2020 at 10:57 p.m.

Officers investigate the scene of a shooting at the 3400 block of East Garnet Avenue on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Police released footage of the shooting on Tuesday. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Officers investigate the scene of a shooting at the 3400 block of East Garnet Avenue on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Police released footage of the shooting on Tuesday. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

When David Shafer threatened to commit suicide last October, two of his friends took one of his guns and called 911.

But Shafer ran back to his house, got another gun and pointed it at police when they arrived at the scene.

Shafer was then shot and killed, in what the Spokane County Prosecutor called in January a justified use of lethal force.

The Spokane Police Department released the 911 call and body camera footage from the incident on Tuesday.

Bill Putman and David Palmer knew their friend Shafer was suicidal. When he called 911, Putman told a dispatcher he is a pastor and Shafer was a deacon at their church.

Spokane Police video / The Spokesman-Review

According to Putman, Shafer tried to commit suicide before while drinking and planned to seek psychological help.

On that October afternoon, Shafer was drinking and called his friends to tell them of his plans to kill himself.

Putman and Palmer got in the car and started driving to Shafer’s house on East Garnet Avenue.

When they arrived, Shafer was walking down the street with a gun in his hand, according to the 911 call. The men were able to wrestle the gun from Shafer and tried to hold him down in the car, which was captured on Putman’s 911 call.

Shafer eventually escaped and went back to his house to get another gun, Putman told the operator.

Officer Caleb Martin arrived on scene shortly after Putman was disconnected from the 911 call. At about the same time, Shafer called his friends and told them he had a pistol in his hand and was waiting for the police to arrive.

The gun was later determined to be unloaded.

Martin was able to listen to the phone call and then saw movement in front of Shafer’s house.

Martin and Officer Daniel Cole walked toward the house with their service rifles drawn. Martin yelled for Shafer to drop the gun, which was pointed at the officer.

Seconds later, Martin fired two shots, one striking Shafer in the right side of his chest and the second hitting him in the upper back as he fell to the ground.

Martin was 45 yards away from Shafer, who was standing in front of a pickup truck in his driveway.

Cole and Officer Charles Pavlischak immediately rendered aid to Shafer, with medical personnel arriving within minutes.

Shafer was declared dead on the scene. His blood alcohol content was 0.16, twice the legal limit. Shafer also had kratom, a plant known to have psychotropic effects, in his system.

In his statement about the shooting, Martin wrote, “Shafer positioned himself in a way that indicated that he was assaultive and would not cooperate. It was obvious that Shafer knew my exact position.”

Martin returned to his patrol duties after completing standard procedures following a deadly use of force, including seeing a mental health professional. He has been on the police force since July 2016 and has received three letters of commendation, according to Sgt. Terry Preuninger.

Martin was one of the officers who shot and killed Daniel Craven in 2017. His use of force in that incident was also found to be justified by the prosecutor.

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