There were 24 people in Spokane County who were reportedly slain in 2021. Most of them were shot and killed. All but seven were boys and men. They were babies, toddlers, teens and adults. • Detectives arrested a suspect in the vast majority of the homicides, yet three remain unsolved. • Inside is a list of the homicide victims provided by the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Owar Opiew, 16, was a curious and playful kid who loved to dance, according to his older brother. Opiew was shot and killed at a party in Spokane Valley on Feb. 7. Deputies believe the shooting was gang-related and have yet to arrest anyone for his death more than a year later. Opiew’s family emigrated from Ethiopia, and he was one of 10 children. Owar’s father, Ogun Opiew Okom, said Owar was the last one of his kids he expected to be involved in anything dangerous. At Owar’s memorial service, his father encouraged anyone with information on his son’s death to call police.
Preston Grzogorek, 15, was a typical teenage boy with exceptional love for his family, his sister Nicole Grzogorek said. He was shot and killed outside of his Spokane Valley apartment complex on March 29. The teen’s dad had recently died and he was struggling in school, the family said. He had his focus set on working in construction to help his family financially, especially his 3-year-old niece. Deputies say Grzogorek’s 17-year-old friend, Daisy RedThunder, told him she was coming to buy a vape pen from him. Instead, the girl’s 19-year-old gang-member boyfriend, Stephen Yohler, shot Grzogorek multiple times, killing him. Yohler and RedThunder were arrested and charged with first-degree murder. They are awaiting trial in Spokane County Superior Court.
Kassie Dewey, 35, was stabbed to death in her garage on March 14, several days after breaking up with her ex-boyfriend, who is charged with her murder. Her 5-year-old daughter was injured in the attack but survived. Joshua P. Phillips, 41, met Dewey at their jobs at Eastern State Hospital, and they began dating a short time later. The relationship soured and Dewey broke up with Phillips, who attacked her and her daughter days later, according to court documents. Friends and family described Dewey as a loving and caring mother who would do anything for her patients and children. The attack quickly turned into a rallying cry against domestic violence. Advocates for Dewey and other victims urged the community to support abuse victims and hold perpetrators accountable. An investigation found that Eastern State Hospital mishandled allegations of domestic violence against Phillips, who had been the subject of numerous complaints. He is awaiting trial for murder and attempted murder.
Anthony Plumb, 58, died of stab wounds suffered during a robbery at his motor home on April 23. Plumb had been house-sitting for his brother in Spokane Valley when he was attacked. Family told police Plumb was a private and security-conscious person, who kept about $10,000 in a floor safe, according to court documents. About a month after his death, police arrested Zane McDonald on unrelated charges but quickly connected him to Plumb’s death based on items he had in his possession. The two men were acquaintances and had met a few months prior, according to court documents. McDonald is awaiting trial for murder.
Kash Amos, 19, was shot and killed during a drive-by shooting between rival gangs near NorthTown Mall on May 3. Amos’ younger brother, Norvell Amos, 15, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting just months earlier in 2020. Six suspected gang members were arrested in connection to Kash Amos’ death. Police suspect Tayvon Koss, 17, was the shooter. He is charged with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial in Spokane County Superior Court. Thurston Scanlon, 19, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in June and is set to be sentenced in April.
Erika Kienas, 33, was shot and killed during a road rage incident in North Spokane on May 15. Kienas loved the outdoors, especially fishing with her son, her family said. She loved to paint, which helped with her anxiety and depression. In the years before her death, she had become involved with the “wrong crowd,” and became homeless, according to her mother. Richard Hough admits to shooting Kienas, but claims it was self-defense. He is charged with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial.
Justin Combs, 34, was asleep in front of the Spokane Intermodal Center on June 7 when he was severely beaten. He later died from his injuries. The attack was caught on a nearby security camera. Samuel Tesch-Villa, 19, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the beating, but the charge was dropped in December when prosecutors said they couldn’t locate an essential witness.
Ty Jordan, 38, was shot and killed during a drug deal gone wrong on Spokane’s South Hill. Jordan and his friend, Jerrame Kimble, were attempting to buy fentanyl from Brian McGaugh, 38, and another man when a fight broke out between Jordan and McGaugh. Kimble told police that McGaugh pulled out a pistol and shot both him and Jordan. Jordan was pronounced dead on the scene. Kimble was treated for a gunshot wound to his arm. McGaugh pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm in January. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Daniel Martinez, 42, a beloved local barber, was shot and killed during a bar fight at Ichabod’s East on July 25. Martinez was known for his contagious laugh and his love for cutting hair, according to friends and family. Investigators say a fight broke out between a group of men at the bar late on that Friday night, and 29-year-old Alexandro Aguilar, who witnesses say was close friends with Martinez, fired shots into the crowd. Martinez died at the scene. Another man survived numerous gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, and a third man was shot in the foot. Aguilar is awaiting trial on charges of murder, attempted murder and assault.
Jakobe Ford, 22, was a “tall, skinny goofball,” according to his sister Sequoia Chatterley. Ford was shot and killed outside Luckey’s Bar on July 31. Ford graduated from Shadle Park High School and gained recognition in the community as a triple gold medalist in the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics. He continued his athletic career and even signed with a sports management group weeks before his death. He was also a father to 3-year-old Jahari. Witnesses told police that 25-year-old Michael Le argued with Ford because Ford was dating Le’s ex-girlfriend, with whom he shared a child. Le was arrested and is awaiting trial for first-degree murder.
Azalea Raine RedHorse Jone, 19 months, died in the care of her mother’s boyfriend on Aug. 4. The toddler loved to be around people, said Venacia Atoque, a family friend. “None of this should have happened,” Atoque said. “We should all be here at the park playing with her, not lighting candles.” Mickey Brown Jr., 19, told detectives he was taking care of Jones when she had a seizure. He then tripped and fell while carrying her, falling on the child, he told police. But investigators don’t believe Jones’ injuries match Brown’s description of what happened. Brown was arrested and is awaiting trial for second-degree murder.
Samuel David Perez y Perez, 47, was shot and killed after a fight at the Star Restaurant and Lounge on Aug. 8. Ivan Lopez-Gutierrez, 38, was arrested and charged with murder. An acquaintance of Lopez-Gutierrez told police that they had gone to a rodeo that night before going to the Star. She messaged Perez y Perez and asked him to join the group at their table. Immediately, there was tension between the two men that escalated to physical blows and, eventually, Lopez-Gutierrez shooting Perez y Perez in the bar parking lot, witnesses told police. Lopez-Gutierrez is awaiting trial.
Jackson Purdie, 35, was shot and killed at the Ramada Inn in Spokane Valley on Sept. 18. Surveillance video captured a confrontation between Purdie and another man, in which Purdie pulled out a gun and aimed it at the man and a passerby. The man then shot Purdie. Investigators believe the shooting may have been drug related. Deputies detained everyone on scene, but never arrested anyone for Purdie’s death. Investigators looked into self-defense claims from the shooter, said Deputy Mark Gregory. The case was recently forwarded to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office, which will decide whether to press charges.
Lisa Shimek, 40, was a “fiercely loyal” mother of two, according to her obituary. She was shot and killed at her boyfriend’s home on Oct. 10. Shimek grew up on her family’s farm in Lind, Washington, before moving to Spokane and attending Shadle Park High School. Shimek and her two children had been staying with her boyfriend, Randy Mollette, for a few weeks at his Spokane Valley home. The couple lived on the main level of the townhouse and Mollette’s roommate, Jason Woodlief, 42, lived in the basement, according to court documents. One night, Woodlief was drinking heavily and arguing with people at a party they all attended. Woodlief returned to the home and shot and killed Shimek, investigators believe. Woodlief was arrested that night and is awaiting trial for first-degree murder.
Allyson Davis, 37, was shot and killed during a drug deal-turned-robbery on Oct. 11 in Spokane Valley. Davis, according to court documents, was struggling with substance abuse when she met up with a man to sell him drugs. When the man arrived, he had two people with him, including Kayla Holden, 29. Holden got into their car, pulled out a gun and asked Davis and her friend for money, according to court documents. Davis turned and lunged at Holden, who then shot her, a witness told police. Holden was arrested more than a month after the incident and charged with first-degree murder and two counts of robbery. She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery Friday and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Jerome Lee Jr., 42, who was arrested about a month after the incident, faces the same charges . A third person, Simon S. Ben, 22, was arrested in February and charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery.
Steven “Stevie” Cavitt, 25, was born and raised in Spokane. He was a proud father, loving family member and avid basketball player, according to family and friends. Cavitt was shot and killed late on the night of Oct. 16 in downtown Spokane after going out to a bar with friends to commemorate the anniversary of his cousin’s death. The shooting likely had gang ties, investigators believe, after witnesses said the alleged shooter, Diandre R. Johnson, 24, was a member of the “NFL” gang. Johnson, a felon, was charged with second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm. He is awaiting trial in Spokane.
John P. Gullingsrud, 34, was shot and killed near the Spokane Transit Authority bus barn in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood on Oct. 20. Police responded to reports of shots fired at about 2:30 a.m. There, they found Gullingsrud with multiple gunshot wounds. He died at the scene. Investigators have no suspects in the homicide.
Andrew Sorensen, 20, was happy from the moment he was adopted at 6 months old, his family said. After fighting through early childhood health problems, Sorensen turned into a bright and happy child, but as a high schooler his autism made it difficult to connect with his peers. He eventually turned to drugs. After his teenage girlfriend received a settlement for a car accident she was in, the couple and some friends went on a joy ride to Seattle in October 2020. It’s unclear what happened on the trip, but the group was separated and returned to Spokane individually. The girl told her parents that Sorensen had sex trafficked her, according to court documents. While high on methamphetamine, her father, John Eisenman, killed Sorensen, he told police. Investigators found no evidence Eisenman’s daughter was sex trafficked. Sorensen’s body wasn’t discovered until October 2021. Eisenman was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and is awaiting trial in Spokane County Jail.
Destin S. Cooper, 28, was shot and killed at a Thanksgiving party that went into the early morning hours of Nov. 26. Cooper and a group of friends showed up to Zachary McGlocklin’s home on South Evergreen Road in Spokane Valley at about 2 a.m. McGlocklin and his friends had “dropped acid” and used cocaine during the night, according to witnesses. At one point, McGlocklin left and returned with a handgun, witnesses said. He just started shooting and didn’t seem to be aiming at anyone in particular, they said. Cooper died at the scene. McGlocklin told police Cooper had shot at him, but he never actually saw the gun, according to court documents.
McGlocklin is awaiting trial on charges, including first-degree murder and assault.
Aaron Houghton, 35, was shot and killed during a drug deal gone wrong at a gas station on Spokane’s South Hill on Nov. 11. Shortly after the shooting, Henry O. Zeiger, 38, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and robbery, after witnesses said he was seated in the backseat of the shooter’s car. About a month later, Manuel Silva, 29, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and two counts of robbery and assault. According to court documents, investigators believe Silva, a gang member, was the shooter. Police also arrested Silva’s girlfriend, Tiffany Reynolds, 27, in connection to the shooting. All three are awaiting trial.
Bobbie Young, 51, was found dead in a tent at a homeless camp at 2000 N. Thorpe Road on March 12, said Julie Humphreys with the Spokane Police Department. Young was shot and stabbed. Police investigated her death but did not have a viable suspect. The investigation remains open.
Jeffrey Hayes, 48, was found dead in a vacant field on Dec. 2 in Airway Heights. At 9:59 a.m. Dec. 2, Northern Quest Resort & Casino’s security footage showed Hayes waiting at the front of the casino when a white Kia Optima pulled into the frame, according to court records. A man in a hooded sweatshirt was seen getting out of the front passenger seat and opening the backseat door for Hayes. The car then sped away. Minutes later, Hayes was found dead in a vacant 10-acre lot off North Hayford Road and West Balmer Avenue. Police arrested Ezekiel Mentell, 23, and Shawn Cottingham, 32. Mentell told investigators it was Cottingham who killed Hayes. Both men are awaiting trial for second-degree murder.
Serenity Murfin-Marusic, 1, was rushed to the hospital on Dec. 4 when she was found not breathing at her parents’ residence. She died just a few days later on Dec. 7 from a fentanyl overdose. Court documents indicate her father, Frank R. Marusic, 31, had been under surveillance for months, with detectives conducting drug buys from him with a confidential informant. Marusic’s story about what happened to his daughter changed multiple times, investigators say, which led them to arrest him and charge him with her murder in mid-December. He is awaiting trial on the murder charge and numerous drug-related charges.
Michael Lindblom, 24, was shot and killed while at a friend’s house on Dec. 11. Rigoberto Garcia Lopez, 39, showed up at a house on the 1300 block of West Shannon Avenue where he knew some former tenants. While there, Lopez exhibited extreme paranoia, according to court records. Eventually, Lopez drew a handgun and without provocation shot Lindblom, witnesses said. Police said there was no indication the shooter knew the victim. Not long after, Lopez shot himself a few blocks away and later died of his injuries.
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