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

Spokane prosecutor declines to file charges against U.S. Marshal who shot a suspect in September

UPDATED: Wed., Dec. 2, 2020

Law enforcement officers belonging to a U.S. Marshals Service task force shot and wounded a man in Spokane’s Hillyard Neighborhood on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, after he was allegedly involved in a shooting the previous night.  (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Law enforcement officers belonging to a U.S. Marshals Service task force shot and wounded a man in Spokane’s Hillyard Neighborhood on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, after he was allegedly involved in a shooting the previous night. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file charges Tuesday against an officer with a U.S. Marshals’ task force who shot an armed fugitive in September.

Kevin Gellnes, 42, was shot multiples times leaving him with nerve damage. At the time of the Hillyard shooting, Gellnes was wanted on a Department of Corrections warrant and also by the Spokane Police Department for his suspected involvement in a drug-related shooting the day prior.

The prosecutor’s office said in a statement Tuesday that Special Deputy U.S. Marshal Pat Green was justified in using lethal force. The prosecutor’s office is the first agency to release Green’s name after the U.S. Marshals’ Service said releasing names of officers involved in shootings was against policy.

The federal marshals received a tip that Gellnes was in the area of East Everett Avenue and North Regal Street. They were gathering in the area when Green spotted Gellnes, a news release from the prosecutor’s office said.

Green yelled at Gellnes to stop, but instead Gellnes reached for his waistband, according to the news release. That’s when Green drew his sidearm and repeated commands for Gellnes to stop, the prosecutor’s office said.

Gellnes looked at Green, who then saw a “greenish” object come from Gellnes’ waistband, the prosecutor’s office said. Green believed the object was a gun and shot Gellnes.

Gellnes fell and officers administered first aid, the prosecutor’s office said.

Further investigation showed Gellnes was armed with a teal-color semi-automatic handgun. Gellnes told both investigators and The Spokesman-Review he pulled out the gun to throw it away. At the time of the shooting, Gellnes said he was on methamphetamine and off his medication for schizoaffective bipolar disorder.

He also told investigators he intended to commit suicide by police shooting, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Gellnes is in jail awaiting trial on charges of attempted first-degree murder, armed burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon.

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