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

Prosecutor: Officer justified in shooting at man near Sacred Heart in May

A Spokane Police Officer was justified in shooting at a felon who brandished a firearm at witnesses and the police officer in May, Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell ruled Friday.

Just before 4 a.m. on May 10, Spokane Police Officer Chris Johnson responded to reports of a man yelling and brandishing a firearm at an apartment complex in the area of 320 W. Fifth Ave, near Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

When Johnson stepped out of his patrol car to approach the man, Reily Arambul, 28, fled, according to a news release from prosecutors.

Johnson chased Arambul, who got into a car with another man in the driver’s seat. The driver immediately put his hands up, following Johnson’s commands, but Arambul did not.

Arambul then tried to wrestle control of the vehicle from the driver, according to the news release.

The car did a U-turn and slowly headed east on Fifth Avenue. Johnson followed in his patrol car.

Arambul got out of the car and fled south on Browne Street. Johnson chased on foot, yelling at Arambul.

Arambul then turned and pointed his gun a Johnson, according to the news release. Johnson fired a single shot at Arambul, missing him.

Arambul then dropped to the ground and was taken into custody.

Investigators found a loaded Highpoint .380 in Arambul’s possession.

He was charged with first-degree carjacking and unlawful possession of a firearm in Spokane County Superior Court.

Weeks later, he was federally indicted for illegally possessing a firearm in June, and charges in state court were dropped.

Arambul pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm on Aug. 23. His sentencing was set for Jan. 10, but the day before the sentencing, Arambul allegedly ingested what may have been an illicit substance in jail.

United States District Court Judge Mary K. Dimke postponed the sentencing until further investigation could be made into the incident, according to court records.

Arambul is set to be sentenced on Jan. 31.

The Spokane Police Department was not required to call in the state-governed independent investigation team because Arambul did not sustain substantial or great bodily harm, the standard for initiating the protocol.

Instead, then-Chief Craig Meidl asked the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the shooting.

Johnson has shot at three suspect since 2020. His actions were found justified in the shooting of Jonathan Buttrum in 2020. A determination has yet to be made in the shooting of Robert Bradley.