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

Priest River man gets at least 15 years in prison for Post Falls coffee shop shooting

Tisen W. Sterkel, 32, shown here in surveillance camera footage, was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison Friday for shooting two people Dec. 1 at a Post Falls gas station as part of a crime spree.   (Via Kootenai County District Court Documents)

A 32-year-old Priest River, Idaho, man was sentenced Friday to at least 15 years in prison for a crime spree that began with a December shooting at a Post Falls coffee shop.

Tisen W. Sterkel’s sentence handed down in Kootenai County District Court includes 15 years fixed and 15 years indeterminate, meaning he will be eligible for parole in 15 years.

Post Falls police received multiple 911 calls shortly after 1:30 p.m. Dec. 1 reporting a shooter, later identified as Sterkel, in the parking lot of a gas station at the intersection of State Highway 41 and Poleline Avenue, according to court documents. The parking lot includes Kokopelli Coffee.

Sterkel shot Jacob Sheppard in the neck and Jason Griffin in the right leg. Both men were taken to Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene.

Sheppard was in stable condition at the time, according to a Facebook post by the coffee shop. Griffin was treated and released, the hospital said.

Witnesses told police Sterkel fled in a gold Ford F-150.

Surveillance cameras from the gas station showed Sterkel firing at least twice at Sheppard before returning to his truck and shooting two more rounds, one that hit a witness’ tire and one that hit Griffin, documents said.

Sterkel then eluded police in a different vehicle that was stolen.

A SWAT team eventually pinned the truck Sterkel was driving and arrested him.

Sterkel was found guilty at trial in July of two counts of aggravated battery with the use of a deadly weapon enhancement, aggravated assault with the use of a deadly weapon enhancement, two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle and operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent. He was found not guilty of burglary, according to a Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office news release at the time.

Before the trial, Sterkel pleaded guilty to eluding, possession of methamphetamine, unlawful entry and attempted unlawful entry, the release said.