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

Man wanted in connection with New Year’s robbing, killing of father set to propose

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 15, 2021

The family of Christopher Smith – who was robbed, shot and killed on New Year’s Eve in Spokane Valley – learned after his death he had purchased an engagement ring days before, according to the GoFundMe page setup by his future-sister-in-law.

Smith, 35, and Andrea Nagle, his long time partner and the mother of their 10-year-old daughter, had just bought a house together.

Now Spokane Valley detectives believe they’ve identified the man and woman suspected in his killing at about 7 a.m. outside Brookdale Park Place on Park Road.

They’ve arrested one suspect, 30-year-old Krystal M. Johnson, and are still searching for 28-year-old Joseph “Joe” M. Gray, whom the public should consider “armed and dangerous,” according to a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office news release.

“Praying he is found and justice is served,” Nagle wrote in a Facebook post Friday that included a photo of Gray.

Spokane Valley Deputies found Johnson while responding to an argument and assault call at the Adams Square Apartments Wednesday night, with help from the SWAT Team and major crimes detectives, the release said.

Johnson was booked into the Spokane County Jail on suspicion of first-degree homicide and first-degree robbery.

Witnesses told deputies they saw one Black man, later identified as Smith, a white man and a white woman in an altercation the morning of New Year’s Eve, the Sheriff’s office said in a release.

Witnesses said the men were banging on doors in the area and neighbors heard yelling and shouting before the white man pulled out a handgun and shot Smith. The man and woman ran away, deputies said.

Smith was transported to a hospital, where he died from his injuries, deputies said.

Four days after his death, Nagle posted to Facebook that Smith was making his final trip across the Cascades, after hundreds of trips across those mountains in his life for college, snowboarding trips and to visit friends.

“I can just picture him now with the music cranked, singing the entire way,” Nagle wrote.

Payton Nagle wrote on the GoFundMe page set up for Andrea that Smith was “loving” and did not hesitate to help others.

“While we knew this about him, we have been shocked at the amount of stories we have been hearing about just how much he helped others and quite literally would give the clothes he was wearing,” Payton Nagle wrote.

Detectives are asking any citizen who knows of Gray’s location to call 911. Anyone with other information about this investigation or Gray’s recent activities can call Major Crimes Detective Marc Melville at (509) 477-3325 or Major Crimes Detective Nate Bohanek at (509) 477-3223.

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