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

Neighbors react after man accused of holding knife to toddler is shot by police

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 25, 2022

Spokane Police responded Monday afternoon to a man they say held a knife to an infant’s throat on the 2400 block of East Desmet Avenue. He was shot and killed by two officers, the police chief said.  (Sydney Brown / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Police responded Monday afternoon to a man they say held a knife to an infant’s throat on the 2400 block of East Desmet Avenue. He was shot and killed by two officers, the police chief said. (Sydney Brown / The Spokesman-Review)
By Sydney Brown and Garrett Cabeza The Spokesman-Review

Few details have emerged since two Spokane police officers shot and killed a man they say held a knife to a toddler Monday afternoon on East Desmet Avenue, but residents of the neighborhood shared more details on the moments leading up to the standoff.

Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl has shared a brief description of Monday’s events, but few other details have emerged. He said Monday the incident started when a “hysterical woman” called to say her child was dead. Meidl said two officers with SPD eventually shot and killed a man who was holding a knife to a toddler, with his relationship to the child and the caller unknown at that time.

Cleveland Jones and his wife live on East Desmet and said they saw a woman emerge from a garage and run screaming down Desmet. Moments later, he saw “16 to 20” police cars show up, he said.

In the years that he has lived in the home, Jones said, the neighborhood and the house where the shooting happened never had anything similar to what unfolded Monday.

Vehicle break-ins are common, he said, and he has noticed drug use in the nearby parks. But violent crime is not a regular problem.

“It’s a good place to rent … but what happened yesterday, the police needed to do what they did,” Jones said Tuesday.

Josh Abrahamsen, who also lives on Desmet, said he was home but did not hear any gunshots. He did notice police and medical vehicles afterward. He described the neighborhood as “downscaled” and “surprisingly quiet.”

Three of the street’s residents, including Jones, said they believed police responded to 2423 E. Desmet Ave. after 911 calls reported a domestic violence incident and someone possibly injured.

One resident had security footage that showed police responding to a duplex at 12:49 p.m. Vehicles parked in neighboring driveways blocked the security camera’s line of sight after police are seen walking up to the residence.

Crime scene tape remained wrapped around objects in the side yard of the duplex Tuesday.

The identities of the officers who shot the man were not yet released as of Tuesday evening. The suspect, who died at a hospital Monday, also had not been publicly identified by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office as of Tuesday.

The toddler was not physically injured in the standoff, Meidl said Monday. At that time, he said he did not believe Child Protective Services would take the toddler.

The Spokane Independent Investigative Response Team will lead the investigation, Spokane police Cpl. Nick Briggs wrote in a news release Monday evening. Both officers were placed on administrative leave, which Briggs noted was standard procedure for any officer-involved shooting.

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