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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alleged Camp Hope shooter was searching for woman who may have stolen shooter’s pistol, court documents say

Fencing is installed around Camp Hope homeless encampment on Sept. 30 in Spokane.  (KATHY PLONKA/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIE)

The 24-year-old man accused of firing Wednesday at Camp Hope alleged a female, to whom he gave a ride, stole a .40-caliber handgun from his vehicle’s glove box prior to the shooting, according to court documents.

No one was injured in the shooting.

James W. Rackliff was charged with suspicion of two counts of drive-by shooting and made his first court appearance Wednesday. Jail records indicate he’d been released from custody as of Sunday afternoon.

A woman working security at Camp Hope, the large homeless encampment off Interstate 90 in East Central Spokane, told police she was walking outside the camp when the driver of a blue 2018 Chevrolet Malibu approached her.

The driver, described as a thin white man with long blond hair and later identified as Rackliff, told the woman he gave another woman a ride to a nearby gas station, according to documents. While Rackliff was inside the gas station, the female stole items from Rackliff, documents said he alleged.

Another witness told police that Rackliff told her the woman to whom he gave a ride stole a .40-caliber handgun from the glove box.

The security worker said Rackliff told her he knew the woman fled to the camp and he was looking for her. The worker said Rackliff then drove away and she heard him shoot in the area of Second Avenue and Ray Street – Camp Hope’s location. The security worker called 911 and later identified Rackliff in a police lineup.

Another witness, who resides and works security at the camp, also told police Rackliff contacted her about a woman who stole from him possibly being at the camp. The witness said she saw Rackliff display a black pistol before returning to his vehicle, then he fired twice from a vehicle.

A manager at a nearby Conoco gas station told an officer a skinny white man with long hair and a Warriors hat came to the store around 2 a.m. to buy alcohol and returned around 2:45 a.m. asking to see the store’s security camera footage because he alleged a woman stole his pistol. The manager said the man was very upset.

The footage showed a white man wearing gray sweatpants, a dark sweater and a yellow and blue Warriors hat inside the store, as well as him getting out of and into a blue Malibu, court records said.

Police located the blue Malibu around 3:40 a.m. at Rackliff’s residence in the 3300 block of South Southeast Boulevard, according to documents. The officer at Conoco confirmed the Malibu at the gas station was the same one at the South Hill address. After Rackliff was detained, she confirmed he was the one she saw in the gas station security surveillance.

Police found a spent 9 mm shell casing in the area of the shooting and another 9 mm casing at the base of the Malibu’s windshield, documents said. During a search of the Southeast Boulevard residence, police recovered multiple firearms and ammunition, including a 9 mm pistol with identical ammo found at the shooting scene and near the Malibu’s windshield.

Rackliff is scheduled for an arraignment Oct. 18 in front of Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel.