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

Records: Car chase on Colville reservation followed deadly shooting in Keller

Oct. 25, 2022 Updated Wed., Oct. 26, 2022 at 9:14 a.m.

Two men suspected of having roles in a Colville Indian Reservation crime spree that left two dead and a tribal police officer wounded were arrested after a Nespelem homeowner found them hiding in his backyard and held them at gunpoint until help arrived, according to court documents.

Dezmonique Tenzsley is in the custody of the Spokane County Jail, facing a charge of being a felon in possession of ammunition. A sworn affidavit by FBI Special Agent David DiBartolo in support of Tenzsley’s arrest contains new details about the double homicide and car chase that followed, prompting closures of schools and government offices on Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation on Thursday and Friday.

Colville Tribal Police Sgt. Kris Brakebill was responding to reports of gunfire at a trailer in Keller on Thursday evening when he encountered a red Honda sedan matching the suspect vehicle description on Cache Creek Road, about 15 miles northwest of Keller, according to court documents. Two dead people, who have not been identified, were found in the trailer. Brakebill gave chase and pulled over the speeding car, DiBartolo wrote.

Two female teens got out of the car and sat down in the grass, according to court records. Brakebill then saw what appeared to be the barrel of a semi-automatic handgun pointed out of a rear door and fire a single shot toward the car, before it drove away.

Brakebill caught back up with the car, which had stopped again on a turn. When Brakebill made the turn, someone inside the car fired a shot, striking the sergeant in the forearm and causing him to shift the car into neutral. The red Honda once again sped up as someone inside fired another shot at Brakebill that hit the dirt. The car then sped away.

Brakebill was “doing well” last week, according to a news release from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

One of the teens who got out of the red car told authorities that she and her companion had met up with Zachary Holt, Curry Pinkham and another man. They put a duffel bag with several guns in the trunk of the car and drove away before they were stopped by Brakebill. The teenager’s description of the man matched Tenzsley, who state and federal authorities had identified as a potential suspect in the case. Authorities on Friday announced the arrest of Holt, Pinkham and an “unidentified male.”

Holt and Tenzsley were arrested in the backyard of a home in the 400 block of Seventh Street in Nespelem on Friday morning, according to court records. A homeowner called to report people trespassing at the residence, and when police arrived the two men were “being (held) at gunpoint by the homeowner.” Tenzsley provided a false name when he was arrested, but authorities recovered a debit card with his name. They found him in possession of  9 mm ammunition, though he was not found with a gun.

Tenzsley’s criminal record includes felony convictions for escape out of Pierce County in 2009 and second-degree assault in Asotin County in 2012, according to court records. It is illegal for him to possess ammunition for firearms.

Tenzsley appeared in federal court Monday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. A hearing to determine whether he’ll remain in jail as his case is resolved is scheduled for next week.

No federal charges had been filed against Holt or Pinkham, who was arrested later Friday in Elmer City.

A representative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Eastern Washington declined to comment on the status of Pinkham and Holt on Tuesday. Both were listed in custody of the Colville Tribal Correctional Facility in Nespelem.

Holt, 22, faces charges under the criminal code of the tribe that includes criminal homicide, attempted criminal homicide against a law enforcement officer, obstruction of justice and weapons offenses.

Pinkham, 25, faces charges of aiding and abetting criminal homicide, reckless endangerment and attempting to elude a police vehicle.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Oct. 26, 2022 to correct errors. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the charge Tenzsley faces. He is charged with possession of ammunition. The story incorrectly stated he was possession of a gun when he was apprehended. He was found with ammunition, according to court records, not a gun. Also, his last name was misspelled in some references.

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