Four Spokane police officers and one Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detective were identified as those who opened fire and killed a man who barricaded himself in a van for several hours in a standoff with law enforcement Wednesday east of downtown Spokane.
Officers Jacob Siegel, Scott Lesser and Robert Riggles, and Cpl. Brandon Lynch, are on administrative leave, which is standard practice after an officer-involved shooting, according to a Spokane Police Department news release.
Siegel joined the department in 2020 and serves on its tactical team, police said. Lesser has served with Spokane police since 2007 and is a member of its SWAT team, is an emergency medical technician and a field training officer.
Riggles was hired by the agency in 2018 and serves on its SWAT team, and is coordinator of the Field Training Officer program. Lynch has been with the department since 2013 and serves on the SWAT team and the police’s Drone Unit.
The sheriff’s office identified Det. Derek McNall as the lone employee from its agency involved in the shooting. McNall started at the sheriff’s office in 2015 and has worked as a patrol deputy, field training officer, SWAT Team member and other roles until he was promoted to detective and assigned to the Investigative Division.
The Spokane Independent Investigative Response Team is investigating the shooting, and the Washington State Patrol is the managing agency for the case, police said.
Authorities allege the incident started when three men – Christopher B. Gooch, 42; Christopher A. Jones, 44; and Dominic A. Shears, listed as 39 on the Spokane County Superior Court website, committed an armed robbery of Scott Banchero and Jamie Morris early Wednesday morning at Oxford Suites hotel, 15015 E. Indiana Ave., in Spokane Valley, according to court documents.
After the alleged robbery, the three men fled in a van, according to a SIIR news release.
Shears dropped Gooch and Jones off at Second Avenue and Spokane Street, according to court documents. The two men ran but were detained by Spokane police detectives, who were following the van, court records said.
A detective said in documents Jones had a bag containing a white powder substance appearing to be narcotics, and a package with the name “Scott Banchero.”
The driver crashed the van into a business on the corner of Sheridan Street and Third Avenue, the SIIR release said.
Spokane police units arrived at the crash scene and the van’s sole occupant, identified as Shears in court documents, fired shots at the officers, the SIIR release said. Two officers responded with gunfire at about 1 a.m., and Shears barricaded himself in the van and was uninjured during the initial shooting event, the release said. One officer at the scene sustained minor injuries from shrapnel.
A standoff ensued, and multiple attempts were made to have Shears exit the van, according to the release. After a five-hour standoff, Shears came out with a handgun. The responding officers and deputy fired at him, and he died at the scene around 6 a.m.
Gooch and Allen, both of Spokane, were arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery and made their first court appearances Thursday. They are scheduled for arraignments Aug. 16 in Spokane County Superior Court. Gooch and Jones remained in Spokane County Jail Friday night with $50,000 and $60,500 bonds, respectively.
According to court documents, Gooch told detectives he and Jones were longtime friends and Jones asked for his help collecting a debt. He said Jones asked Gooch to “roll” with him and look “tough.”
Gooch, Jones and an unidentified male, believed to be Shears, who was armed with a black semiautomatic pistol, knocked on Banchero’s door at Oxford Suites, documents said. A female, believed to be Morris, answered the door, and Jones and Shears entered the room.
Gooch said he went to grab Morris and then realized he wanted out of the situation, court records said. He then left the hotel and went to the van they arrived in.
Jones and the unidentified male carried unknown items in their arms when they returned to the van, documents said.
All three left in the van and headed west toward Spokane on Interstate 90. Gooch told the unidentified male to let him out of the van, but the male responded by pointing a gun at him and telling him to be quiet.
Jones told detectives he was highly intoxicated and could not recall what happened.
Meanwhile, Banchero, 58, of Kirkland, Washington, was charged with suspicion of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Washington.
A criminal complaint alleged Banchero was the victim of the Oxford Suites robbery after arriving from the Seattle area, the release said.
Authorities executed a search warrant on a Spokane-area storage unit rented to Banchero where law enforcement located about 20,000 fentanyl-laced pills, 2 pounds of methamphetamine, 1 kilogram of heroin and a half-pound of cocaine.
The shooting case will be forwarded to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office for review after the SIIR Team completes its investigation, the sheriff’s office said.
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