After the arrest of two car prowling suspects Monday morning, we are learning new details about what happened when one of the suspects pointed a sawed-off shotgun at the deputy, quickly escalating the incident that could have turned deadly.
The car prowling suspect who pointed the illegal firearm at the deputy told authorities after he was taken into custody that he, "forgot to take the safety off." He is not being named because he is a juvenile but the 17-year-old is a convicted felon and is now facing multiple charges, including Attempted Murder in the 1st Degree. Other charges he's facing include Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Possession of an Unlawful Firearm.
The other suspect who was also caught car prowling at the same time and took off running has been identified as 22-year-old Ilder E. Vasquez. Vasquez is being held on warrants for Attempted Burglary in the 2nd Degree and a Washington Department of Corrections Community Custody Hold. He will be facing other charges stemming from this incident once the investigation is complete.
In-depth details released by the Spokane Valley Police Department reveal how this incident could have ended with someone losing their life. Authorities tell us that the juvenile suspect pointed the gun at the deputy as he exited his fully marked patrol vehicle. The suspect pulled out a loaded shortened, “pistol grip” style shotgun and pointed it. He then appeared to slip, didn’t fire the weapon, and eventually was taken into custody.
As he was taken into custody, the deputy told an assisting deputy, “He tried to shoot me.” Just after the deputy completed this statement, the suspect interjected, “I forgot to take the safety off.” The suspect was belligerent calling the deputies “F-ing Pigs” (edited) and stated during an interview, after he was advised of his rights, he didn’t like cops, he did not speak “Pig Latin” and cops are “F-ing corrupt” (edited).
Vasquez who took off on foot, was located a short time later hiding inside a building on Cannery Road, south of the scene. He was taken into custody without further incident.
Sheriff Knezovich, after being briefed on the details of this incident, stated, “Tell me again how property crimes are non-violent. I am so tired of listening to elected officials in our community tell people property crimes are non-violent in order to justify not fixing our criminal justice system and our jail, or holding these offenders accountable. Fail to deal with the small crimes and they will result in larger crimes.”
He went on to say, “Just because violence wasn’t used during a crime does not mean there isn’t a high potential for violence to happen. These habitual offenders continue to victimize our community knowing that they will not be held accountable. We were lucky today; these “non-violent property offenders” didn’t kill our deputy, not because they didn’t try, but because he couldn’t get his gun to fire. The deputy and his family had an angel sitting on his shoulder today.”
The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has declined to prosecute the suspect as a juvenile and will charge him as an adult.
(story: Nichole Mischke, KHQ Right Now Reporter; photo: Spokane County Sheriff's Office)