The four deputies who shot and injured a man accused of domestic violence in March were justified in using lethal force, according the Spokane County Prosecutor’s office, which announced its decision Tuesday.
Lanz E. Zeppa, 49, was shot multiple times on the afternoon of March 8 in the courtyard of the Kings Village Apartments in Spokane Valley after his girlfriend called 911 and reported Zeppa was intoxicated and attacking her and her toddler.
Zeppa was carrying a rifle and three handguns when police confronted him and told him to drop the weapons, according to court documents. At first Zeppa appeared to comply , but then reached for his waistband and an additional pistol, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office.
Zeppa raised the pistol into the air and then appeared to lower it in the direction of two responding deputies, the prosecutor’s office said. That’s when four deputies, Jesse Depriest, Tim Jones, Tyler Kullman and Joseph Reno, opened fire.
Zeppa was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he was treated for a number of days, according to the Washington State Patrol, which was the lead on the investigation for the Spokane Independent Investigative Response Team.
Investigators found Zeppa was armed with a loaded Ruger .45 handgun and three unloaded long guns, including a shotgun, the prosecutor’s office said.
The prosecutor’s office said the deputies acted in good faith and that no criminal charges will be filed against them.
Zeppa was initially charged with second-degree assault and two counts of fourth-degree assault for the domestic violence incident preceding the deputies’ arrival. In exchange for a plea deal, those charges were reduced to two counts of fourth-degree assault in Spokane County District Court. Zeppa received a suspended sentence of 364 days in jail with credit for time served and a year of probation.
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