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The original item was published from 11/1/2017 10:21:32 AM to 11/16/2017 12:05:02 AM.

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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: November 1, 2017

[ARCHIVED] No Criminal Charges in June 2017 Police Shooting



No Criminal Charges in June 2017 Police Shooting

SPOKANE COUNTY, November 1, 2017 – The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies Nathan Booth, Jeffrey Getchell, and Tyler Kullman were justified in their use of deadly force while attempting to arrest/contact Michael J. Kruse at Motel 6 located at 1919 N. Hutchinson, Spokane Valley, WA.

At approximately 3:28 AM on June 7, 2017, Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Deputies and units from the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to a report of a fire in Room #205 at the Motel 6 on North Hutchinson in Spokane Valley.  Michael J. Kruse was the registered guest and sole occupant of room #205.  The front desk clerk went to Room #205 and was confronted by Kruse, who screamed for the clerk to call the police and tell them to shoot and kill him.  Kruse then closed and locked the door to the room.  The clerk obtained a photocopy of Kruse’s driver’s license to show the police that had been taken at check in.

Upon arriving at the scene, Deputy Booth made contact with citizens inside to help them safely evacuate.  Booth then went inside the main entrance and identified himself as a police officer and asked that anyone inside make themselves known.  From the top of the stairs, Kruse yelled, “Kill me!”

At that point, Booth could not yet see Kruse due to the smoke from the fire. There was already probable cause to arrest Kruse for the felony crime of arson.

Eventually, Booth was able to see well enough to identify Kruse from his driver’s license photograph.  Booth observed that Kruse had a knife in his hand that was approximately 5-6 inches long.  Booth yelled at Kruse to put the knife down.  Kruse ignored the command and yelled back that he wanted to die and that deputies should shoot him.

Soon, Deputies Getchell, Kullman, and Spenser Rassier arrived on the scene. Getchell attempted multiple times to verbally de-escalate the situation with Kruse but to no avail. Kruse continued to tell the deputies that they were going to have to shoot him. Kruse stated, “See my head.  Shoot me.”

Kruse eventually positioned himself at the top of the stairs on the second floor and started downward at a rapid pace toward the deputies.  Kruse held the knife above his shoulder as if to make a downward stabbing motion with it.  Rassier fired a less-lethal bean bag shotgun round that hit Kruse in the midsection but had no effect on him.  As Kruse continued down the stairs, deputies continued to yell at him to drop the knife.

When Kruse was approximately 7-10 feet from the deputies and nearing the bottom of the stairs, Deputies Booth, Getchell, and Kullman each fired their handguns multiple times at Kruse.  Kruse went down to the floor on his back.  The knife was removed from his hand and he was handcuffed.

Medics had been staged at the scene and immediately rendered aid and transported Kruse to Sacred Heart Medical Center.   Kruse was treated and survived his injuries.  Fire investigators determined the fire originated in Kruse’s room and the most probable cause was intentional ignition of available combustibles by Kruse using one of three BIC-style lighters found inside the room.

Under these circumstances, it was reasonable for Deputies Booth, Getchell, and Kullman to use deadly force.  Kruse presented a serious and immediate threat to officers by coming forward aggressively with a knife in an offensive manner.  Multiple prior commands to drop the knife and an attempt with less-than-lethal force had been used to dissuade and/or stop Kruse.  There is no indication any of the deputies 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 Deputies Booth, Getchell, and Kullman.

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