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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Prosecutor finds Spokane Police officers, deputy justified in Aug. 2022 shooting that ended standoff with robber who shot at police

An investigator uses a can of spray paint to mark the street at the scene where police exchanged gunfire with a robbery suspect on August 3, 2022, near the corner of 3rd Avenue and Hatch Street in Spokane.  (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane law enforcement officers were justified in shooting and killing a man in August 2022 after a standoff during which he fired at police, the Spokane County Prosecutor found Friday.

The shooting ended a nearly five-hour confrontation with Dominic Shears, who was wanted after a robbery earlier in the evening.

Spokane Police detectives along with federal agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Drug Enforcement Agency were surveilling a suspected drug dealer, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office.

Officers followed the dealer to a Spokane Valley hotel where just before 1 a.m. a blue Econoline van with three men inside pulled into the parking lot.

Shears, 39, was later identified as the driver. The men went inside the hotel and robbed the dealer at gunpoint before fleeing on Interstate 90 toward Spokane.

Police officers Jacob Siegel and Scott Lesser followed Shears, who dropped off the other two men, into downtown Spokane.

Those men, Christopher Gooch and Christopher Jones, were arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery. Both pleaded guilty to charges related to the robbery in federal court, according to court documents. Gooch was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in the robbery. Jones was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison.

Sheers abruptly turned near E. 3rd Avenue and S. Sheridan Street and crashed into a building. Police confronted Shears, who responded by shooting at them at about 1 a.m., according to the news release.

Siegel was slightly wounded. Both officers fired back.

Additional officers were dispatched to the area, and negotiations began.

Police fired pepper spray and tear gas cannisters, as well as flash-bang devices into his van, but Shears tossed them out, police said at the time.

“Despite multiple attempts to end the situation peacefully, including multiple applications of less-than-lethal force,” the prosecutor’s office wrote. “Shears eventually exited his vehicle with a gun in his hand and appeared to be looking to acquire targets.”

Officers Robert Riggles, Brandon Lynch and Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek McNall then shot Shears at about 6 a.m.

He was hit two times and was later pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation determined that Shears was armed with a Glock .45 with a live round in the chamber. Blood test showed alcohol, caffeine, ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, amphetamine and methamphetamine in Shears’ system.

Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell found that the officers were justified in using deadly force.

The prosecutor’s office has not found issue with any use of deadly force in more than two decades.