The Spokane County Prosecutor's Office determined that the officers involved in a shooting in the parking lot of the Shadle Walmart in October were justified in using deadly force while attempting to arrest Chad K. Cochell.
On October 4th, Spokane Police had been looking for a white 1994 Ford Explorer with a black metal push bar and Washington license plate #BFD9194, since a carjacking that had happened two days earlier in the vicinity of 8201 N. Crestline. There, a person had been shot two times and the Explorer had been stolen and driven away from the scene. The suspect in the shooting and carjacking had not been identified. The victim, identified as Kerry L. Arnold, later died.
Two days later, SPD Officer Mark Brownell discovered the 1994 Ford Explorer in the parking lot of the Walmart just before 5 p.m. There was a man in the driver's seat, and a woman in the passenger seat. Due to the circumstances in which the vehicle was stolen, police came up with a plan to block the truck's path to minimize the likelihood of an escape, which could lead to a dangerous high-speed chase.
Several police vehicles were positioned to block the Ford and Cochell in the parking lot.
Despite these efforts, the Explorer rammed a police vehicle at a high rate of speed. Police were worried the driver was attempting to try to escape, which would have put the officers at great risk.
Officers immediately approached the car on foot and saw the driver was moving around inside, had a gun in his hand and pointed at his head. Multiple commands were given to drop the gun, which Cochell ignored.
Based on the threat of immediate danger to the public, Officer Ryan Smith fired his patrol rifle at Cochell once, and Officer Darrell Quarles fired his shotgun twice. Cochell was later pronounced dead at the scene by medics.
Under the circumstances the prosecutor's office says it was reasonable for the two officers to use deadly force given the risk to the public. There is no indication either Officer Smith or Officer Quarles acted out of malice or lacked a good faith belief in the correctness of their actions. Therefore, no criminal liability attaches and no criminal charges will be filed against Officers Smith and Quarles.
(story: Matt Pusatory, KHQ Local News Web Producer; photo: KHQ.com)