FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
No Criminal Charges in August 2017 Police Shooting
SPOKANE COUNTY, October 5, 2017 – The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Clay Hilton was justified in his use of deadly force against Justin Klauba during an encounter at Klauba’s residence in which he threatened suicide and assault of a deputy.
On August 14, 2017, at approximately 1:43 a.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies Clay Hilton and Thomas Wakem responded to a welfare check at 3222 S. Glenn Court in Spokane Valley. Upon their arrival at approximately 2:03 a.m., they discovered there were two people inside the residence, Tiffany and Justin Klauba. After knocking on the door and requesting entry into the residence, Tiffany allowed the Deputies inside. In the living room, Deputies discovered Justin Klauba sitting on the floor near a couch and coffee table with a gun pressed to the right side of his head and his finger on the trigger. Klauba was in a near total dissociative state and did not respond to multiple commands to drop the gun. Deputies drew their weapons, backed up toward the front door, and
ordered Tiffany to leave the living room. Once Tiffany was out of the living room, Deputies continued to try to get Klauba to drop the gun. Deputy Hilton advised Klauba to drop the gun or he was going to shoot Klauba. Klauba responded, “Go ahead. I don’t
No Charges in August 2017 Shooting
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want to have to hurt you.” Based on Klauba being suicidal and making an assaultive statement toward Deputy Hilton and out of concern for his own safety and that of Deputy Wakem and Tiffany Klauba, Deputy Hilton fired one time at the right hand of Klauba, causing him to lose grip on the gun and fall to the floor.
Klauba was transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center for treatment of a gunshot wound to the hand. A loaded Smith and Wesson 9mil semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the living room floor of Klauba’s residence.
Under these circumstances, it was reasonable for Deputy Hilton to use deadly force. Klauba presented a serious and immediate threat to both Deputies and to Tiffany Klauba as he was armed with a firearm, had expressed both suicidal and assaultive intent, and had ignored multiple commands to drop the gun. Deputy Hilton fired in reasonable fear for the personal safety of all four persons involved. There is no indication Deputy Hilton acted out of malice or lacked a good faith belief in the correctness of his actions. Therefore, no criminal liability attaches and no criminal charges will be filed against Deputy Hilton.