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

Deputies shoot, kill man in north Spokane; police dog undergoes surgery for injuries

Patrol cars gather near the site of a fatal shooting of a man by Spokane County Sheriff's deputies Jan. 30, 2024.  (Garrett Cabeza/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Garrett Cabeza and Alexandra Duggan The Spokesman-Review

Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday shot and killed a man who neighbors said had been harassing and threatening them.

Neighborhood resident Duane Dumaw said the victim and the suspect lived across the street from each other. They used to be friendly, but had been arguing. He was friendly with the suspect, who would often walk his dog around the neighborhood, but that’s the extent of his interactions.

Other neighbors in the area said the tension had escalated in the past two days – deputies had come and gone multiple times, and there were constant issues with the suspect acting oddly around the neighborhood.

“He was having problems with the neighbor down there … over security cameras, lights shining in the house. I don’t know what the deal was, but he didn’t like it. So he went and tore it down. That’s what started this,” Dumaw said.

The neighbor reported the damage of his Calispel Street home, and deputies could have arrested the man on suspicion of misdemeanor malicious mischief and criminal trespassing, Spokane County Sheriff John Nowels said.

Nowels said deputies decided not to arrest the suspect because he was uncooperative and because of the nature of the misdemeanor charges.

Deputies were called back to the home Monday night because the suspect returned to his neighbor’s property and was dismantling another security light, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. Again, the suspect declined to speak with officers, and they decided to leave.

Deputies then went to the 6600 block of North Calispel Street Tuesday afternoon after reports that a man armed with what was described as a baton was threatening to kill a person in the neighborhood, Nowels told reporters Tuesday night a couple of blocks from the shooting scene.

The neighbor told investigators he was repairing a light broken the day before when the man approached holding what appeared to be a baton over his head, the sheriff’s office said in the release. The neighbor provided video of the encounter to deputies.

At about 5:40 p.m. Tuesday, deputies decided to arrest the suspect for attempted second-degree assault and harassment with threats to kill.

“They were down there at about 5 o’clock. But then it escalated from there. And then this whole street was full of police cars,” Dumaw said.

Nowels said the suspect was uncooperative and refused to exit his home.

Given the new felony charges, Nowels said the sheriff’s office believed the suspect was a significant risk to the public, so decided an arrest was necessary.

Deputies consulted with the SWAT team and determined the team wasn’t needed.

“It was decided that patrol could safely handle this situation,” Nowels said.

The sheriff’s office received a signed search warrant at about 6:30 p.m. for the arrest of the suspect and to search the residence for evidence of the felony crimes.

Deputies told the suspect over the public address system several times he was under arrest, Nowels said.

Nowels said negotiators advised him several times he was under arrest and needed to come out of the home.

Negotiators spoke with the suspect until about 6:50 p.m. when he hung up. The sheriff’s office resumed loud speaker announcements.

At 6:54 p.m., deputies breached the front door. At 6:55, they reported that the suspect “aggressed on them and shots were fired,” Nowels said.

The suspect died.

Police cars, with their emergency lights illuminated, blocked surrounding streets for several hours Tuesday night as law enforcement investigated.

“I need to emphasize, beginning with the incidents last night, deputies de-escalated this situation as much as they could, and the preliminary information I have today indicates that the suspect aggressed on them at the door, and that’s when they acted,” Nowels said at the scene Tuesday.

The sheriff said a law enforcement dog was injured and taken to a veterinarian clinic for surgery. He did not know the extent of the dog’s injuries.

On Wednesday, sheriff’s spokesperson Cpl. Mark Gregory said the dog was doing well, but was still being evaluated. Gregory declined to say how the dog was injured.

A deputy also received minor injuries but was not taken to the hospital, he said.

Four deputies believed to have fired their weapons are on administrative leave, which is standard officer shooting protocol, the release said.

Nowels confirmed deputies fired their weapons but did not say whether the suspect did. He also did not release how many deputies fired or whether the suspect had a weapon.

The Spokane Independent Investigative Response Team is investigating.

The Spokane Police Department is the leading investigating agency and the Washington State Patrol is assisting.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the name of the man who was killed.