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

Man swung axe at deputies before they shot, killed him; sheriff’s office releases names of deputies who fired weapons

A man swung a double-bladed axe at Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies before they shot him Tuesday at a north Spokane home, according to investigators.

The sheriff’s office dog that was injured in the incident and underwent surgery is expected to make a full recovery.

Deputies Hunter Ballou, Matthew Costello, Travis Moser and Parker Perry fired their weapons, according to a sheriff’s office news release Friday.

They responded late Tuesday afternoon to the 6600 block of North Calispel Street for a person with a baton threatening a neighbor, according to a Spokane Independent Investigative Response Team news release Friday. Crime Check and 911 received numerous calls involving the two parties in the recent past.

Deputies responded twice to Calispel Street the day before for property damage, investigators said in the release. Deputies tried to arrest the man on suspicion of misdemeanor malicious mischief and criminal trespass charges, but the suspect wouldn’t exit his home.

Deputies decided to leave the home both times Monday because of the low risk to public safety and no immediate need to arrest the suspect for misdemeanor charges.

On Tuesday, 911 received a call from the suspect who was upset over lights installed at the neighbor’s home that were shining into his residence, according to the release. The suspect said he threatened the neighbor, but no weapons were involved.

The suspect was not cooperative with 911 while on the phone, the release said. After deputies spoke with the victim, they developed probable cause to arrest the suspect on suspicion of second-degree attempted assault and felony harassment with threats to kill.

Deputies responded to Calispel Street to arrest the suspect on the new felony charges.

The suspect hung up on 911 dispatchers at 6:36 p.m. Deputies made announcements to the suspect using vehicle public address systems. A crisis negotiator also came to the scene.

Deputies got the suspect back on the phone at 6:40 p.m. before the call ended at 6:51. With no response to the phone contact and announcements, deputies formulated a plan to enter the home.

“With the escalation in the suspects actions and threats toward the victim and his refusal to engage with deputies, they set up at the front door to make entry and effect an arrest,” the release said.

Seconds after forcing the front door of the home open, the suspect swung an axe at deputies, who were not struck by the weapon, the release said. The sheriff’s office dog was injured “due to the actions of the suspect.”

“Deputies responded to the immediate lethal threat to their lives and the suspect was shot,” the release said.

The suspect died at the scene.

The sheriff’s office said the 2-year-old Belgian Malinois dog was released from a clinic and continues to receive medical treatment while he recovers at home.

Law enforcement recovered the axe and baton used by the suspect, investigators said in the release.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released the name of the man who died.

The investigation is in its preliminary stages and more information will be released as appropriate, investigators said.