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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sheriff frustrated by vacation flap

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is frustrated and caught off guard by the public reaction to the decision to allow Deputy Brian Hirzel to leave for vacation just hours after he shot and killed a Spokane Valley pastor late last month. Knezovich acknowledges that everything with his department ultimately is his responsibility. But he believes he’s been unfairly portrayed in the decision to allow Hirzel to leave town before explaining the encounter that resulted in the death of 74-year-old Wayne Scott Creach.

Doug Clark: Baton story fails to clear cop’s conduct

Santa Claus. The Tooth Fairy. The Easter Bunny … The Keebler Elves. Open wide, compadres. We have a brand new myth to swallow. It’s called… “The Phantom Baton Blow.” Believing in magic is about the best way to make sense out of what Deputy Brian Hirzel says happened the night Wayne Scott Creach was fatally shot Aug. 25 in Spokane Valley.

Sheriff regrets way vacation decision was made

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is frustrated and caught off-guard by the public reaction to the decision to allow Deputy Brian Hirzel to leave for vacation just hours after he shot and killed a Spokane Valley pastor late last month.

Police detail Hirzel account of shooting that killed pastor

Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Brian Hirzel said he ordered pastor Wayne Scott Creach to drop his gun multiple times, struck the 74-year-old man in the leg with a police baton and fired only after the property owner began to draw the gun out of his waistband, an investigator said Tuesday in the first detailed account of the Aug. 25 incident that resulted in Creach’s death. At no time did Creach aim his weapon at Hirzel, according to Spokane Police Lt. Dave McGovern, who supervises the detectives who investigate major crimes.

Spokane County unveils new alert system

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich plans to keep his bullhorn, but he soon will have a more subtle way to warn Spokane County residents of emergencies. Starting Monday, residents may register their cell phones, voice-over-Internet phones and e-mail addresses to receive emergency messages.

Creach drawing gun when shot, police say

Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Hirzel said he ordered Pastor Wayne Scott Creach to drop his gun multiple times, struck the 74-year-old man in the leg with a police baton and fired only after the property owner began to draw the gun out of his waistband, an investigator said Tuesday in the first detailed account of the Aug. 25 incident that resulted in Creach’s death.

Deputy says he hit pastor with baton

The deputy who shot and killed a Spokane Valley pastor on Aug. 25 told investigators that he used a baton on Wayne Scott Creach and repeatedly ordered him to drop his gun before firing his own pistol, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich confirmed Sunday. Alan Creach, son of Scott Creach, said Sunday that investigators told him about Deputy Brian Hirzel’s statement that he’d struck his father once with a baton, but that investigators had asked him not to disclose that detail to the media. A news release issued Friday by the Spokane Police Department made no mention of the baton.

Deputy says he struck pastor with baton

The deputy who shot and killed a Spokane Valley pastor Aug. 25 told investigators that he used a baton on Wayne Scott Creach, and repeatedly ordered him to drop his gun before firing his own pistol, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich confirmed Sunday. But the pastor's family said there was no autopsy evidence of a baton strike on their father.

Doug Clark: Ozzie out of character on this one

I remember the moment I became an Ozzie Knezovich fan. It was June 2006. That’s when Knezovich showed Joseph “Cuppa Joe” Mastel and the citizens of Spokane County what being a real leader is all about.

Officer involved in shooting identified

The deputy who fatally shot a Spokane Valley pastor and business owner last week was identified Monday as Brian Hirzel, a two-year veteran of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office who also has held law enforcement positions in Kootenai County and in Southern California. Hirzel, 41, has agreed to meet Thursday with detectives investigating the shooting death of 74-year-old Wayne Scott Creach, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich confirmed. The investigation is being conducted by the Spokane Police Department.

Sheriff offers condolences, withholds details in shooting

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich extended condolences Friday to the family of slain pastor Wayne Scott Creach and asked for the community to be patient as investigators determine why he was shot by a Spokane Valley police officer. Knezovich said he wants to assure residents that a “full and complete” investigation will be performed and that all the details will eventually come out. However, he offered no new details and did not name the officer who shot the 74-year-old pastor.

Jail captain says inmates clogged, flushed toilets

Spokane County Jail inmates will start returning today to cells they flooded with toilet water Saturday evening. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich plans to seek felony charges against those who were responsible if an assessment confirms the damage was as costly as county officials expect.

Discipline dispensed after jail death

Penalties against four Spokane County Jail deputies who allowed an inmate’s death to go undetected for eight hours range from dismissal to a reprimand. Workplace charges in the Nov. 11 death of Fredrick James Juhnke were filed in February and March. Video surveillance and interviews revealed that Kenneth Downey, Lloyd Nolan, David Hatton and Jeff Way failed to make required half-hourly checks on inmates’ welfare, but there was no allegation that they caused or could have prevented Juhnke’s death.