2 Wash. Police Officers Hurt in 'Prolonged' Fight with Shoplifting Suspect

Dec. 4, 2023
Two Spokane police officers were caught in an extended struggle with an accused shoplifter that ended with an officer opening fire and fatally the suspect.

By Elena Perry

Source The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

Police shot and killed a man suspected to be shoplifting after a "prolonged" fight in a north Spokane Walmart on Sunday morning.

Two officers were injured during a fight between the suspect and Spokane police officers, with one officer taken to the hospital, according to police Chief Craig Meidl.

First-aid measures were performed on the suspect, but he "succumbed to his injuries" at the scene, according to a Spokane Police Department news release.

At 9:16 a.m., a commissioned Spokane police officer at the Walmart located at 9200 N. Colton St. became aware of the suspect in the process of "taking things" from the Walmart, Meidl said.

The officer called for backup, and a second officer arrived. They contacted the suspect on the north side of the store, near the entrances, and tried to take him into custody.

"At that point a fight ensued; it was a very prolonged fight that continued into the store," Meidl said. "During the process of that fight, one officer fired their weapon."

Officers put out a call that shots had been fired at 10:28 a.m. Meidl said he does not know how many shots were fired.

The fight occurred in what Meidl said was "a very large area," all within the Walmart.

Officers located what appeared to be a firearm and ammunition belonging to the suspect, and police stun guns that appeared to have been deployed during the fight.

The Walmart was evacuated; Meidl said he was not aware of any injured bystanders, and according to the news release, "no uninvolved citizens or store employees were injured during this incident."

According to Meidl, the Walmart will remain closed until responding officers investigate the scene, which was expected to take "several hours." The Spokane Independent Investigative Response team is investigating the officer shooting.

The officer who fired his weapon was placed on incident review leave, according to the news release. Both officers wore body cameras.

The identity and cause and manner of death of the deceased will be released by the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office.

Elena Perry's work is funded in part by members of the Spokane community via the Community Journalism and Civic Engagement Fund. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper's managing editor.

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(c)2023 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)

Visit The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) at www.spokesman.com

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