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

Man who shot woman in road rage confrontation says she threatened to stab him, but Spokane police don’t find knife

May 17, 2021 Updated Tue., May 18, 2021 at 8:29 a.m.

Richard Hough is claiming self-defense in the road rage shooting death of Erika Kienas. He has been charged with second-degree murder.  (Courtesy KHQ)
Richard Hough is claiming self-defense in the road rage shooting death of Erika Kienas. He has been charged with second-degree murder. (Courtesy KHQ)

A man accused of shooting and killing a woman Saturday morning during a road rage confrontation in north Spokane is claiming self defense.

Richard Hough, 28, said in a jailhouse interview Monday that he shot 33-year-old Erika Kienas at the intersection of Francis Avenue and Addison Street when he believed she was reaching for a knife to stab him.

He described himself as a gun enthusiast who had a holstered .22-caliber revolver when he stepped out of the car he was riding in to confront Kienas as she walked toward him.

After exchanging words, Hough said he shot her when he thought she reached toward her bra to brandish a knife.

Police did not find a knife or other weapon on or near Kienas, according to court documents.

Kienas was shot once. The bullet passed through her left breast and exited her back.

No one in the two cars knew each other, according to records.

Hough told The Spokesman-Review he shot Kienas “trying to protect my brother.”

The road rage began at around 10:45 a.m. in north Spokane.

Richard Hough was riding with his mother, Birdie, and his brother, Christopher, in the family’s red Volkswagen Jetta to pick up his sister. They were on their way to a barbecue, Richard Hough said.

He said the problems began when his mother turned left from Division Street onto Cozza Drive.

At that point, a white Subaru, being driven against traffic on the wrong side of the road, passed them and cut them off, Richard Hough said.

Birdie Hough told police that she then saw the Subaru run a stop sign and continue south onto Addison Street. She said she became concerned that the Subaru driver posed a threat to others, so she chased it in an effort to stop it and report the license plate number.

When she drew even with the Subaru, someone in the car flipped her off, Birdie Hough told police. Her son flipped off the Subaru in response, she said.

The situation escalated when both vehicles stopped at the intersection at Francis Avenue and Addison Street.

The Houghs say Kienas got out of the passenger side of the Subaru and approached their car.

“I, of course, got out of my car,” Richard Hough said. “Next thing you know she’s threatening to stab me and reaches for her knife.”

Richard Hough said he felt he had to get out of the car in order to protect his brother, who he said is autistic.

Witnesses said the brother also was armed with a pistol and waved it out the window after Kienas had been shot.

Richard Hough told police that prior to the shooting, he and Kienas were disengaging and he was returning to his car. That’s when he said he saw, out of the corner of his eye, Kienas’ hand go toward her bra. Richard Hough said he worried she was reaching for a knife.

He shot her once. Hough told police that he had no choice but to shoot her in order to protect himself, his brother and his mother.

Richard Hough told police that he never saw a knife and never told Kienas to stop reaching for her bra.

Bystanders and law enforcement attempted to give Kienas first aid but she died before emergency medical personnel arrived.

Richard Hough said his mother could not have driven away after Kienas got out of her car because of traffic, prompting him to confront her.

Richard Hough said he always carries a gun and has a concealed carry permit. The affidavit states that police dispatch said over the radio that Richard Hough “had a valid concealed pistol license but had previously been denied a firearm after application.”

Video footage from Octapharma Plasma shows the driver of Kienas’ vehicle getting out of the car and apparently going to Kienas as she collapsed to the asphalt, before returning to the white Subaru and driving away from the scene.

Spokane Police Department Communications Manager Julie Humphreys said police have found that driver but have not named them.

The Houghs remained on scene after the shooting.

Who they are

Richard Hough grew up in the Spokane area and lives in Wellpinit. He attended multiple high schools, including West Valley High School.

Hough said he is disabled and unemployed. He said guns are his main hobby. He often fixes his friend’s guns and enjoys target shooting. According to the affidavit, he often goes shooting multiple times a week.

Hough told police that he takes medication for anxiety and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. He told police that he did not take his anxiety medication Saturday, but had taken his morning dose of hydrocodone, which he uses four times daily because of an injury.

Spokane District Court Judge Jeffrey Smith set Hough’s bond at $750,000. He is charged with second-degree murder.

Kienas had a 9-year-old son, according to a GoFundMe page set up for her Monday.

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