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

More people were shot by Spokane law enforcement in two weeks than in the entirety of 2023

Two more police shootings Monday added to a wave of violence across Spokane County.

In the past two weeks, there have been four police shootings of armed suspects. That’s as many as in all of 2023.

“It has been a very violent period over the last couple of weeks,” interim Spokane Police Chief Justin Lundgren said from the scene of an early Monday morning shooting in northeast Spokane.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies shot and killed 55-year-old Richard Rogissart after Rogissart reportedly swung an ax at deputies during a standoff on Jan. 30 in north Spokane.

The next night, Spokane police officers shot and killed 43-year-old Craig Anglisano after investigators say Anglisano raised a gun at officers on the South Hill.

Then early Monday morning, Spokane Police officers shot and killed a man with a gun who had shot a woman multiple times as she was on the phone with 911 dispatchers calling for help.

The fourth happened downtown near the STA Plaza when officers shot a man who police said held a knife to a person’s throat and tried to hurt a bystander.

The cases prompted a response from Mayor Lisa Brown.

“I am saddened by the recent occurrences of violence and officer-involved shootings in the City of Spokane,” she said in a media statement Monday afternoon. “These situations are tragic for everyone involved.

“Each of these instances leave a profound impact and highlight the many challenges our community is facing. A top priority for my Administration is connecting those who are at-risk or in crisis with the resources they need before the situation escalates and threatens their safety, as well as the safety of community members and our officers.”

Brown said her administration is working with Lundgren to ensure transparency in the process of reviewing the shootings.

The number of officers involved, including nine police officers in the second case, has led to law enforcement calling in additional resources to ensure they are at the minimum amount of acceptable staffing within the county, Lundgren said. Officers from smaller agencies, such as Liberty Lake’s police department, were at the scene downtown on Monday to assist.

But Spokane Police is aware that calling in officers to assist also takes resources away from neighboring departments.

“I’m concerned about our officers and our community,” Lundgren said.

In 2023, officers shot four people, killing three and injuring one. Another man was shot at by police but uninjured.

The Spokane Police Department ranks fourth in the nation for deadly police interactions per capita, according to Mapping Police Violence, a police accountability group.

Despite the high ranking, 2023 was a sharp decrease countywide from the previous year.

In 2022, Spokane County law enforcement shot at nine people, killing six

the most shootings in recent memory.

The previous high was eight instances of police officers using deadly force.

That was in 2020, when five died, and 2017, when six died.

The way police shootings and other uses of deadly force are investigated in Washington State has changed significantly since 2018 when voters approved Initiative 940, which led to many new requirements to foster independent and transparent investigations into police use of deadly force.

An independent team is called in to investigate with the involved agency completely cut off from the process.

Those requirements only apply when someone sustains substantial or great bodily harm. Last year, then-Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl asked the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office to investigate an officer’s shooting at Reily Arambul, who was uninjured.

The prosecutor found the shooting to be justified last month.

The prosecutor’s office has yet to make a determination on any of the other 2023 shootings.

There are 15 officer-involved shootings, including those from Monday, dating back to 2021 that remain under investigation.

The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has justified every police shooting since 2000, according to data compiled by The Spokesman-Review.

– With additional reporting from Spokesman-Review staff writers Alexandra Duggan and Garrett Cabeza.