Gonzaga drive-by shooting suspect arrested

Gonzaga drive-by suspect arrested

Spokane Police have arrested a 38-year-old man in connection to a drive-by shooting investigation that happened near Gonzaga's baseball field on March 17, 2017. 

Spokane Police officers were called to Gonzaga's baseball field after campus security reported the shooting. Three Gonzaga baseball players were at the field shagging homerun balls, when one player said he heard three pops and a "whizzing" noise. The player turned around as saw a man ducking down in an older white/bluish Chevy pickup and then saw the pickup drive away at a high rate of speed. 

Another player told police they might have found holes in the baseball field fence fabric that could've come from baseball cleats or were possibly bullet holes. 

Officers determined there was no surveillance video of the incident and the truck could not be located. 

The next morning, an employee of the psych ward at the VA hospital called police saying they had more information about the shooting. According to court documents, the employee stated 38-year-old Jason Stewart came into the VA hospital that morning saying he was "in crisis and that he had driven there at over 100 mph because he was feeling suicidal. The employee said they also received a phone call from a friend of Stewart who said they believed Stewart was involved in the shooting that happened at Gonzaga's baseball field the day before. 

Officers talked with Stewart's friend, who told them Stewart was having a mental breakdown and they believed they were talking to him on the phone when the shots were fired. The friend told officers Stewart told her that he had fired his gun and that Gonzaga students had heard it. 

While at the VA, Stewart had illegally parked his truck and gave permission to an employee to move and take possession of the gun he had in the truck, according to court documents. 

Officers learned Stewart had been placed on a 72-hour hold at a health center based on comments he made to VA employees. 

Stewart told officers on March 17, 2017, he was having a hard time because he had just moved out of his residence and was not able to find any hotel rooms and was sleeping in his truck. He also told officers he had not slept in several days and struggles with depression and PTSD from being in the Marine Corps. 

Stewart told officers he was parked outside the baseball field on March 17 with his gun against his head, but couldn't pull the trigger so he pointed the gun towards the floor of his pickup and fired 3 to 4 rounds in frustration. Stewart says he did not want to hurt anyone and didn't point the gun at anyone. Stewart said after he fired the shots he saw Gonzaga students running away and he fled the area. 

Based on his statements and testimony from witnesses, Stewart was placed under arrest for drive-by shooting. He was taken to jail where, according to court documents, jail staff was advised he suffers from PTSD and had made suicidal statements recently. 

(story and photo: KHQ.com)

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