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

Man suspected in recent homicide killed by Spokane police after he fires at officers, police say

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 6, 2021

The man shot and killed by Spokane police Tuesday night at Queen Avenue and Ash Street was suspected in a homicide Dec. 27. In the December killing, a 41-year-old man was shot in the torso.  (Maggie Quinlan / The Spokesman-Review)
The man shot and killed by Spokane police Tuesday night at Queen Avenue and Ash Street was suspected in a homicide Dec. 27. In the December killing, a 41-year-old man was shot in the torso. (Maggie Quinlan / The Spokesman-Review)

A man shot and killed by Spokane police officers at Queen Avenue and Ash Street on Tuesday night was a suspect in a homicide investigation, Police Chief Craig Meidl said.

Meidl said the suspect, who died, fired at officers before they returned fire. His name was not released Tuesday night. No officers were injured in the incident.

Early on Dec. 27, police found a man with a gunshot wound in his torso at his home near Madelia Street and First Avenue. Though he was conscious and spoke to police when they arrived, he died at a local hospital later that day.

The Spokane Medical Examiner’s Office identified the East Central shooting victim as Joseph Buskirk, who had been suspected of shooting and killing a man in an act of self-defense during an argument over drugs and a woman in 2013, police said at the time. Records do not show that Buskirk was charged with the killing in 2013.

In relation to Buskirk’s Dec. 27 death, police developed probable cause to arrest a man Tuesday, Meidl said.

Detectives had a name and the description of the man’s vehicle, Meidl said. They’d also gotten information that the man was armed and had “said he was going to shoot out with officers if they attempted to take him into custody,” Meidl said.

Officers saw the man get into his vehicle near Euclid Avenue and Monroe Street just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, Meidl said.

Minutes later, the man drove south on Ash and picked up speed, Meidl said.

“Officers were at that point in a position where they decided they needed to try to stop this individual,” Meidl said.

In the 5100 block of South Ash, police used a tactical maneuver to stop the car, striking it and causing it to come to a rest perpendicular to the road, Meidl said.

The man was “immobilized” in the car for several minutes, Meidl said. After several more minutes, the man stepped out of the vehicle and fired at least one round at officers, Meidl said.

“We believe he fired at least one round; it might have been multiple rounds. We won’t have that information until the investigation is further along,” Meidl said.

Officers pulled the man out of the car after he’d been shot, Meidl said. They performed CPR, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene, Meidl said.

As of 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, the man’s car remained in the roadway with debris from the crash scattered about.

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