In chain of killings, man shot by police was suspected of homicide in avenging friend’s 2013 death
Jan. 7, 2021 Updated Fri., Jan. 8, 2021 at 12:02 p.m.
A pair of shootings in the span of nine days has left two Spokane men dead and ended seven years of seeking revenge .
Forty-one-year-old Joseph “Sabastian” Buskirk was shot in the chest on Dec. 27 outside of his home on South Madelia Street near East Sprague Avenue.
By Tuesday, Spokane Police settled on a suspect and pursued 36-year-old Shawn McCoy. After a car chase, McCoy, nicknamed “Peg” after a train car rolled over his leg as a teenager, stepped out of his car and fired a gun at police. Officers shot back and killed him near the corner of Queen Avenue and Ash Street.
Investigation records describe the two men as career criminals connected by another slaying in October 2013.
Buskirk spent much of his life as a drug dealer. In October 2013, he became entangled in a drugs-for-sex arrangement with the girlfriend of a man named Brandon Compogno.
On Facebook, Compogno wrote if anyone was intimate with his girlfriend, he would kill them. He also posted suggestive photos and demeaning language about his girlfriend.
Buskirk told police he had been selling Compogno’s girlfriend OxyContin pills and she’d become desperate, according to court documents.
So Buskirk agreed to give her some pills in exchange for her Blu-Ray DVD player, food stamps and sex. He told police at the time that Compogno knew he had been selling her pills and that Compogno “was not happy about it.”
One day Compogno came home and found Buskirk leaving, witnesses told police.
Compogno held the muzzle of a gun to Buskirk’s back and said: “You better run, I might just shoot you,” according to Bus- kirk’s account .
Buskirk then turned and fired three to six shots, killing Compogno, according to Buskirk’s statement to police.
Arguing self-defense, Buskirk was not prosecuted for the killing. Instead, he pleaded guilty to selling drugs.
Several anonymous tipsters and witnesses told police that Compogno’s death had long been a source of ire for McCoy, a close friend of Compogno’s, according to the warrant filed this week in the killing of Buskirk.
In 2015, McCoy posted several drawings he made depicting Compogno, setting one as his cover image on Facebook.
The tipsters and witnesses said McCoy’s gang, the Young Guns Blood Norteños, had been aligned at the time with Compogno’s North Side Rider Bloods, the warrant said. The Norteños “wished revenge for their “brother’” but were “unable” to hurt Buskirk because he had been in prison for separate crimes, according to the warrant.
McCoy seemed not to fear police. Or pain.
While train-hopping at age 13, McCoy caught his foot under a boxcar. The accident crushed his leg and doctors had to amputate it below the knee, police said at the time.
As an adult, McCoy – who went by “Menace,” “Peg,” and “Peg Leg” on the street due to his prosthetic – racked up an extensive criminal history, according to court documents.
In 2007, he received one of his first convictions – harassment with threats to kill. Since then, he’d been convicted of at least 13 felonies, including first-degree assault for stabbing his roommate with a 12-inch bread knife.
Buskirk had his own history – several felonies and several misdemeanors, including domestic violence assault and causing injury to a child. In 2016, he was convicted of homicide via controlled substance after selling opiates to a 24-year-old man who ultimately died of an overdose, according to court documents.
That 24-year-old’s mother took two years to write her son’s obituary, saying she was still angry at her son, Seth Pettengill, the drug dealers who supplied him and at the criminal justice system that failed him.
“Beautiful, sweet, and sensitive Seth,” she wrote, “is survived by his shattered and demolished parents.”
After McCoy and Buskirk served a series of prison sentences, it was McCoy’s most recent release in April that meant the two were both in Spokane, operating in overlapping social circles. McCoy’s girlfriend was friends with Buskirk’s girlfriend, according to Tuesday’s warrant.
In November, Buskirk sent his girlfriend a text message: “Just ran into e (sic) dog that Wuz Brandon’s C good friend,” Buskirk wrote.
“Said how much he had wanted to fire on me sept (sic) he had a feeling to talk & see how I reacted whether I went side ways or talked like a man I am.”
On Dec. 27, McCoy’s ex-girlfriend, Buskirk, and Buskirk’s girlfriend, along with a group of other people, gathered in a mutual friend’s apartment, witnesses said.
Around 6 a.m., a man stepped out of the apartment. McCoy, still in the living room, asked if that man was Buskirk. Another man confirmed it was. McCoy followed Buskirk outside and they heard a “pop,” according to court documents.
Buskirk’s girlfriend said she was coming down the stairs when Buskirk came back inside and said he’d been shot in the chest. She asked who shot him and he said he didn’t know, according to court documents. Police noted that witnesses had been reluctant to cooperate.
About 40 minutes later at a local hospital, Buskirk died, the warrant said.
In the final sentence of the warrant to arrest McCoy, police wrote, “he has reportedly told people that he intends to shoot it out with police, that he is acquiring firearms and may have multiple handguns in his possession, and that he will not go back to jail.”
Police, armed with a description of McCoy’s vehicle and a warrant for his arrest, spotted him just before 8 p.m. near Euclid Avenue and Monroe Street, Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl said Tuesday night, before McCoy’s identity had been released.
Minutes later, McCoy was picking up speed on the 5100 block of North Ash Street, Meidl said. Police struck his car to stop it.
After the crash, McCoy stepped out and fired at least one round at officers. They returned fire.
McCoy, lying in the roadway among debris from the crash, died at the scene.
Editor’s note: This story has been edited to include Shawn McCoy’s correct age and the correct cardinal direction for the 5100 block of North Ash Street.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.