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

Man shot in stomach after confronting suspected robber at Spokane Valley hotel

June 10, 2022 Updated Fri., June 10, 2022 at 5:49 p.m.

A man was shot in the stomach at point-blank range after confronting a robber over Memorial Day weekend outside a Spokane Valley hotel.

A woman told a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detective that a man entered the open door to her ground-floor room at the Rodeway Inn and Suites, 6309 E. Broadway Ave., early in the morning on May 28, according to search warrant documents filed Wednesday in Spokane County Superior Court. She said the man, identified in documents as 30-year-old Austin B. Baxter, demanded money. When she claimed she had no money, he pulled a black semiautomatic pistol from his waistband, pointed it at her face from about 1 foot away and demanded the money again, documents said.

Cpl. Mark Gregory, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said Thursday no one has been charged and the investigation is ongoing. Baxter is listed as an inmate in the Kootenai County Jail for suspicion of 10 counts of grand theft, two counts of forgery and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm. He was arrested May 31.

The woman told the detective that during her alleged encounter with Baxter, she pounded on the hotel room window and screamed for her friend, who was staying in a nearby room. The woman told investigators that when she screamed, Baxter sprayed her in the face with bear mace. She said in the documents she then started to exit the room, but Baxter pushed her aside and ran out of the room.

As the assailant left the room, Austin Braun, who was sitting in his silver Mitsubishi sedan and told authorities he believed someone was being robbed, ran toward the man, according to surveillance video from the hotel. Braun caught up to Baxter as Baxter started to run along the walkway in front of the woman’s hotel room.

The video shows Braun trying to grab or otherwise physically engage the assailant, who then fell to the ground a few yards from the room. The man then fired one shot, striking Braun in the abdomen, from a couple of feet away. Braun fell to the ground and appeared hurt.

The assailant scrambled to his feet and fled from the hotel, the video shows. Authorities did not locate Baxter that day. Meanwhile, deputies found Braun laying on the ground with a gunshot wound outside the woman’s hotel room.

Braun, who told authorities he did not know the shooter, was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center where he had surgery. Ariana Lake, Sacred Heart spokeswoman, said in a text message Thursday that Braun was treated and released.

Detectives found a spent .40 -caliber casing and pills, appearing similar to mexis (counterfeit fentanyl), on the ground near where the shooting happened.

The woman told the detective she did not believe Baxter stole any money or property from her but she could not see well enough to be sure because of the mace.

The woman also told authorities she was Facebook friends with Baxter, but she didn’t recall meeting him before.

A detective interviewed Baxter on June 1 at the Kootenai County Jail. Baxter soon stopped answering questions and requested an attorney, according to documents.

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