A man who fired at officers on the West Plains and in East Central Spokane early Monday was found dead after a standoff with police, said Spokane police Officer John O’Brien.
The incident began about 1:30 a.m. when a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation on Sprague Avenue just north of Northern Quest Casino, according to a news release from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
The driver of the car, with a license plate that reads “HUNNYZ,” did not stop, the sheriff’s office said. The BIA officer along with Airway Heights and Kalispell Tribal police officers responded to assist in the car chase that continued east on U.S. Highway 2 toward Interstate 90.
Officers told dispatchers that the suspect fired several shots at them from his vehicle and was trying to run cars off the road near Flint Road.
The suspect turned his lights off as he continued east on I-90 before taking the Lincoln Street exit, the sheriff’s office said.
Officers lost sight of the vehicle briefly near East Sixth Avenue and South Denver Street before spotting the car unoccupied on the 600 block of South Denver Street.
Spokane police officers, county sheriff’s deputies and Washington state troopers flooded the area, bringing out K-9 units, the SWAT team, negotiation teams and helicopters coordinated with the help of the Spokane Regional Emergency Communications team.
While a K-9 was tracking the suspect in Liberty Park, officers reported the suspect had fired his gun again, according to the sheriff’s office.
Officers took cover while drones were launched to locate the suspect.
He was found near the base of a rock cliff southeast of Liberty Park, according to the sheriff’s office.
After the suspect did not respond to attempts to contact him, officers deployed distraction devices including flash bangs to see if the suspect reacted.
When officers didn’t observe any movement, SWAT team members moved in and found the suspect had no pulse and appeared to have a single gunshot wound, according to the sheriff’s office.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
No citizens or law enforcement officers were injured in the incident. Officers did not fire their weapons, the sheriff’s office said.
Just before 4 a.m., Spokane police warned residents in a public alert of an “armed and dangerous” person near Liberty Park.
Kim Friddle, who lives in an apartment that overlooks Liberty Park, said she heard police activity around 2:30 a.m. and soon thought it was serious enough to move her kids to the living room to be away from the windows.
In the hour and a half that followed, she heard multiple loud sounds in the distance, including a loud boom that shook her apartment building.
Friddle said police negotiators used a megaphone for an hour or more from her apartment building’s parking lot to call out to the wanted person. She last heard the megaphone around 4:15 a.m.
“They were saying there’s no reason for anyone to get hurt and to please surrender,” Friddle said. “Toward the end they said that he (was) under arrest and they will be using force or something. And that they don’t want to use more force.”
At 2:30 a.m., Loyd Yoder, heard his malamute Tucker begging to be let inside his home near Liberty Park.
Then he saw sirens and heard police telling residents to stay in their homes over the megaphone.
Eventually, Yoder heard what he thought were gunshots echo from over near the bluff in Liberty Park. By the time the sun came up, the neighborhood was cleared and it looked just like a regular morning, Yoder said.
The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the name of the suspect at a later date. Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives are leading the investigation into the incident.
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