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

Court docs: Sleeping man beaten to death in front of Spokane Intermodal Center

UPDATED: Tue., July 6, 2021

The Spokane Intermodal Center.  (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
The Spokane Intermodal Center. (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

A 34-year-old man sleeping in front of the Spokane Intermodal Center was beaten to death last month, likely by an acquaintance, according to recently filed court documents.

On the morning of June 7, a woman walking by the Intermodal Center at 221 W. First Ave. stumbled upon a man bleeding from his head behind a large decorative rock, according to a search warrant. The woman alerted security, who called the police.

Justin Combs, 34, was taken to a local hospital, where he died 11 days later.

Police found a red sleeping bag soaked with blood, along with blood stains on the sidewalk and decorative rock, according to the warrant. An approximately 51-pound rock nearby also had what appeared to be a blood stain, along with scratches consistent with scraping across the sidewalk.

Police believe the second rock was used to beat Combs, according to the warrant, and sent the rock for DNA testing.

On June 29, police obtained video from a nearby business that showed Combs sleeping in the red sleeping bag near the decorative rock. At about 5:45 a.m., a man approached Combs and appeared to go through his belongings or move the sleeping bag to see who was inside, according to court documents.

The man then left, only to walk by Combs again five minutes later. Another five minutes passed and the man came back and attacked Combs while he slept, according to court documents.

The man can be seen on the video picking up a large object, likely the rock, and hitting Combs, who was lying on the ground. The suspect ran away after the first strike, only to return moments later to hit Combs three more times before pulling Combs, who was still in his sleeping bag, out of the camera’s view.

Police have identified a suspect and are testing his DNA to compare with the DNA from the rock, according to the search warrant. The suspect was arrested on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant but hasn’t been charged in connection to Combs’ death.

When interviewed by police, the suspect reportedly admitted to knowing Combs but denied killing him.

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