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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Shadle high school grad, acclaimed athlete Jakobe Ford identified as man shot downtown on Saturday night

Sequoia Chatterley remembered her brother as a “tall, skinny goofball” who also loved his family dearly.

“We were very close. We have a big family and he was my half-brother, but that didn’t really matter to us,” Chatterley said.

Chatterley identified her brother 22-year-old Jakobe Ford, a Spokane athlete and father to a 3-year-old boy, as the dead victim in a shooting Saturday night.

Michael Le, 25, was detained as a suspect in the shooting, which took place in the 400 block of West Sprague Avenue around 11:30 p.m., after a short chase by police on foot. Police on Sunday confirmed Le was the suspect in the shooting. He was booked into Spokane County Jail.

Ford, a graduate of Shadle Park High School, gained lots of recognition in the community as a USA Track and Field Junior Olympic triple-gold medalist and the recipient of the 2017 USATF Youth Athlete of the Year. He was the first since 1967 to win the high jump, long jump and triple jump at the Junior Olympics.

As a senior at Shadle Park, he won all three events at the 2017 WIAA State 3A Championships. He broke his own state meet record in the high jump, which he previously set his junior year, at 7 feet, 21/2 inches – an all-classification record which still stands.

Following high school, Ford signed a National Letter of Intent to compete at Texas Tech. In 2018, Ford broke Everett Community College’s all-time high jump record as a freshman. In May that year he set an NWAC Championships meet record in the triple jump at 50-111/4, becoming the first to win all three jumping events at that meet.

In June 2019, Ford won the Hoopfest dunk contest.

In early July, he signed with Trident Sports Management as a professional track athlete, according to a tweet from NDNSports.

He grew up being “obsessed with sports,” Chatterley said, starting with T-ball and moving through football, basketball and, of course, track and field.

But he was much more than an athlete, Chatterley said.

He loved spicy food, World Wrestling Entertainment especially as a boy, and being a father to 3-year-old Jahari.

“He was just such a loving person. He would give you the shirt off his back,” Chatterley said. “He was so full of life. He still had so much ahead of him.”

The GoFundMe campaign she created for her younger brother garnered more than 130 donors and raised $7,485 as of Sunday afternoon.

Chatterley said Ford touched many lives in the community, who have been expressing their support to the family.

Police said in a news release they were not seeking any other suspects in the shooting. Authorities are asking anyone who may have witnessed the shooting to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 and reference incident No. 2021-20129508.

Major Crimes detectives were on-scene following the shooting and some roads were closed downtown overnight.

S-R reporters Kip Hill and Dave Nichols contributed to this report.