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

Deputy who killed 36-year-old man last summer in northeast Spokane will not be charged

March 31, 2023 Updated Fri., March 31, 2023 at 9:14 p.m.

A longtime veteran of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office will not be charged for shooting and killing a 36-year-old man who tried to run him over with a pickup last summer at a northeast Spokane storage unit.

The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office determined Sgt. Darin Staley, a 28-year veteran of the department, was justified in using deadly force while trying to arrest Terry Starkweather, who had warrants for his arrest, according to a Friday news release from the county.

“Sgt. Staley feared for his life and acted in self-defense, and without malice,” the release said. “Based on these facts, Sgt. Staley had an objective good faith belief in the correctness of his actions and was acting pursuant to the governing statute. Therefore, no criminal charges will be filed in this matter.”

Staley was conducting surveillance around 7 a.m. Aug. 21 at Lyons Self Storage, 1707 E. Lyons Ave., according to the release. Staley noticed a person, later identified as Starkweather, inside a unit Starkweather had rented.

Staley knew Starkweather had several warrants for his arrest. A Spokane Independent Investigative Response Team news release said Starkweather’s felony warrants were for unlawful possession of a firearm, second-degree assault and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Staley called for Deputy Roman Maier to assist him with Starkweather’s arrest, the county release said. The deputies, who were in uniform, developed a plan to enter the locked storage area and contact Starkweather while he was still inside. They decided Maier would enter the storage row from the south in his marked patrol vehicle and Staley would approach down the same row from the north on foot.

Maier informed Starkweather he was under arrest and to place his hands in the air. Starkweather initially complied but then rushed into the cab of his Mazda truck. Starkweather subsequently rammed Maier’s vehicle, then nearly backed over Staley, who was on foot approaching the scene with his stun gun drawn.

While yelling commands at Starkweather not to back up, Staley dropped his stun gun and drew his firearm. As Starkweather backed the Mazda toward him, Staley, who had “little to no maneuvering room,” fired several times at Starkweather, according to the county release.

The Mazda came to rest on the side of the row next to Staley. Staley continued to command Starkweather to show his hands, but Starkweather rapidly drove the Mazda forward toward Staley, in what Staley perceived as an attempt to kill him, the release said. Staley fired at Starkweather again.

Starkweather was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he died a few days later.

Staley was placed on administrative leave, per standard protocol after an officer shooting, but has since returned to duty, according to Mark Gregory, corporal and spokesman at the sheriff’s office.

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