Spokane Police arrest man accused of threatening to shoot up STA Plaza

(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

SPOKANE, Wash. -Spokane Police arrested a 28-year-old man they say spent hours Monday evening threatening citizens with a gun while claiming he was going to kill law enforcement officers. 

Just before 4:30 Monday evening, officers received a call that a man was in the STA Plaza in downtown threatening to "shoot the place up." However, when officers arrived, the man was gone. 

About 90 minutes later, 911 dispatchers began receiving phone calls from a man who said he was armed and was going to kill law enforcement officers. The man made multiple phone calls to 911 with the same threat and investigators were able to link the STA incident to the calls. 

Approximately 90 minutes later, a citizen called 911 to report a man was standing in an alley near 8th and Cannon with a gun and had pointed the gun at the caller. SPD says they swarmed the area, but the man was gone. Officers were able to link that incident to the previous two. 

"The suspect had threatened to cause mass casualties at a busy downtown location, had threatened the lives of police, and had escalated to brandishing a firearm at innocent citizens," Officer Nick Briggs said in a release. "The subject posed an immediate threat to the community, and efforts to apprehend him were exhaustive. Dozens of officers swarmed to the neighborhood where the suspect was last seen. Additionally specialized resources from the SWAT team and hostage negotiators were utilized along with detectives from the Major Crimes Unit."

After an extensive search, officers found the man near 7th and Ash and took him into custody without incident. Spokane Police say Matteaw Smith was armed with a gun and several knives. 

Smith was booked into jail on nine counts of 1st Degree Assault and two counts of Telephone Harassment. 

"SPD would like to thank the numerous citizens in the area that assisted in providing information, as well as those who quickly followed officers’ suggestions and sought refuge during the potentially dangerous situation," Officer Briggs said. "The cooperation of citizens helped mitigate the risks to officers and the public during this incident. SPD is committed to keeping the community safe by apprehending those willing and capable of committing violent acts against innocent persons." 

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