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

Details emerge in deadly shooting on Bonneville Power Administration land

Bonneville Power Administration is shown on East Hawthorne Road in Mead.  (Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman-Review)
By Garrett Cabeza and Alexandra Duggan The Spokesman-Review

The two people who were shot Saturday in Mead were contacted by a security guard for trespassing on federal Bonneville Power Administration land before an argument and physical altercation led to the deadly incident, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

John Franklin, 48, died from a gunshot wound of the torso, the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Josh Hitchens, owner of Airway Motocross Park in Airway Heights, called Franklin a “good guy” and friend who rode dirt bikes nearly every weekend at the track with at least one of his sons. Hitchens said Franklin was married with three children.

“He was here enough that it was impossible not to get to know him a little bit,” Hitchens said.

Hitchens said Franklin and his 18-year-old son, Brock, were in the area where the incident took place to ride dirt bikes. He said it’s a common place to ride.

Cpl. Mark Gregory, sheriff’s office spokesman, said he could not release the name of the other man shot because he was not charged with a crime.

Hitchens said Brock Franklin was shot twice and has since been released from the hospital.

Deputies responded to the shooting late Saturday morning on the 2400 block of East Hawthorne Road, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said information gathered from witnesses, people involved in the altercation and evidence suggested the incident started when the two men were contacted by security for trespassing on the federal land, which was clearly marked by signage.

A “heated verbal exchange” between the security guard and one of the men escalated into a physical altercation, the release said. The second man then started fighting with the armed security guard.

A video posted on Facebook under a statement from the sheriff’s office appears to show someone driving a car and filming a security car parked on the side of the road behind a white truck with dirt bikes in it the day of the incident, but does not depict the shooting itself.

Witnesses told the sheriff’s office the two men appeared to be aggressive toward or actually fought with the guard, according to the sheriff’s office. The guard fired his weapon, hitting the two men.

The sheriff’s office said John Franklin died at the scene and the security guard was not seriously injured.

When people on Facebook questioned the circumstances of the incident, the sheriff’s office replied, saying the incident “turned bad.”

Statements from witnesses, security and the man who was hospitalized all “corroborated the main parts of what happened. We still continue to investigate to ensure the evidence and any other statements/witnesses show the same,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

Kevin Wingert, Bonneville Power Administration spokesman, deferred questions to the sheriff’s office, citing the active investigation. He declined to release the name of the security guard and the security company he or she works for.

“The Bonneville Power Administration is aware of the incident occurring adjacent to a BPA facility on Sept. 30 in Spokane, Washington, that involved a member of our contracted security force,” Wingert wrote in a statement. “We take very seriously the tragic loss of life and are fully cooperating with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation.”

Major Crimes detectives are investigating. No charges have been filed and no further information was available, the sheriff’s office said.

Witnesses who have not been contacted by law enforcement are asked to call the sheriff’s office at (509) 477-3476 and reference No. 10147736.

Hitchens said Airway Motocross Park is holding fundraisers for the Franklin family this weekend and next weekend. He said it’s holding a memorial ride for John Franklin in the spring.