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The original item was published from 1/16/2018 5:59:00 PM to 1/16/2018 6:14:00 PM.

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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: January 16, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Minor Traffic Violation Escalates Quickly Due to Passenger


UPDATE: 2nd Pistol (stolen) and Several Ounces of Meth

Spokane Regional Safe Streets Task Force (SRSSTF) Investigators obtained and executed a search warrant for the Chevy Cavalier, which was seized after this incident.

Investigators located a second loaded handgun and several ounces of Methamphetamine in the passenger compartment where Painter was seated.  A check of the Hi Point 9mm pistol revealed it was reported in Spokane as stolen.

This is an active investigation and additional charges are expected.

The Spokane Regional Safe Streets Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Valley Police Department, Spokane Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Department of Corrections and the FBI. The SRSSTF is a FBI sponsored task force working to alleviate the criminal activities of gangs, violent criminals and upper level drug traffickers.


Minor Traffic Violation Escalates Quickly Due to Passenger


During a traffic stop, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deputies implemented safe tactics, teamwork, and the assistance of K9 Bane, to successfully arrest the uncooperative passenger, 31-year-old Michael C. Painter, who was armed with a loaded handgun.

On January 14th, 2018 at approximately 8:45 p.m., Deputy Krystal Bitzer noticed a red Chevy Cavalier fail to signal as it turned South on S. Thomas Mallen Rd. from W. 57th Ave.  She initiated a traffic stop at S. Thomas Mallen and Silver St. but the driver continued driving slowly on Silver St., stopping in front of multiple homes before pulling back into the lane of travel and continuing eastbound before finally coming to a complete stop. 

As Deputy Bitzer approached the vehicle, she observed a temporary license in the back window, which appeared to have been altered by a black marker.  She contacted the female driver, identified as 43-year-old Tina M. McCrea, and the male passenger, who was later identified as 31-year-old Michael C. Painter. 

McCrea said she didn’t have any paperwork (registration/insurance) for the vehicle or identification on her.  She explained she purchased the vehicle two weeks ago but did not have a bill of sale or any documents.  A check of McCrea’s name back at Deputy Bitzer’s patrol car revealed McCrea’s driving status was suspended.  While checking this information, Deputy Bitzer noticed the passenger reaching around in the vehicle.  During the second contact McCrea admitted she knew her driving status was suspended and Painter advised he did not have a valid license either.   

Deputy Bitzer waited at her vehicle for additional units to arrive and assist. 

When Deputy Veronica Van Patten arrived, Deputy Bitzer arrested McCrea for driving while suspended as Deputy Van Patten approached the vehicle and began to watch Painter.  Painter noticed Deputy Van Patten and began reaching around the floorboard of the vehicle.  Knowing weapons are commonly kept under seats and other areas where he was reaching, Deputy Van Patten told Painter to stop reaching and to keep his hands visible.  Painter, who was sweating profusely, placed his visibly trembling hands in his lap, then began locking the doors of the still running vehicle and started making phone calls. 

Painter appeared to be extremely nervous and fail to follow commands.  Deputies observed a tattoo on Painter and, with additional information gained, confirmed Painter’s identity.  They also learned Painter was known to carry weapons, had an active felony Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) warrant for his arrest, in addition to a U.S. Marshal’s hold.                      

Deputies also learned there was a bat next to the driver’s seat and McCrea advised the Deputies they should be “very careful” as they dealt with Painter.  

Painter continued to fail to follow commands even after he was told he was under arrest.  He said he was calling his attorney but with the erratic behavior, along with all the information learned regarding Painter, Deputies were unsure if his was armed or if he was making calls in an attempt to get people to respond to the scene and assist in his escape.

After several unsuccessful commands to surrender, including K9 warnings advising K9 Bane would be used, Deputy Andrew Richmond deployed less-lethal munitions to break the back-driver’s window.  Deputy Clay Hilton sent K9 Bane, who was wearing his Kevlar ballistic vest, to enter the vehicle.  The ballistic vest hit the top of the window frame stopping K9 Bane’s momentum and prevented him from making it inside.  As K9 Bane attempted a second leap into the vehicle, Painter quickly exited the vehicle and was taken into custody by several awaiting deputies. 

As Deputy Schmidt and Deputy Humphrey moved Painter from the ground toward a patrol car for a complete search, Deputy Schmidt felt a handgun concealed inside Painter’s pants and immediately advised Deputy Humphrey and the surrounding Deputies of the weapon while shielding access to it with his hand.  Although handcuffed, Painter grabbed for the weapon but he could only grab Deputy Schmidt’s hand instead.  Painter was pinned against the hood of a patrol car while other Deputies safely removed the handgun.  The handgun, a Glock 22, .40 caliber, had a fully loaded magazine and one round in the chamber.  A check of the firearm showed it had not been reported as stolen.

A bag containing a white crystalline substance and a small glass pipe were also located on Painter.  The substance showed a presumptive positive result for Methamphetamine.

The Safe Streets Task Force was notified of the arrest and responded to the scene to continue the investigation.

Painter was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for his DOC warrant and the U.S. Marshal’s hold. 

This is an active investigation and additional charges are expected.


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