Transient Male Points Pistol at Motorist Stopped at Traffic Light
Spokane Valley Deputies responded to the report of a male “panhandler” who pointed a pistol at the victim while he was stopped at a traffic light. When Deputies contacted the suspect, he was uncooperative and told Deputies to shoot him. Deputies located a pistol in the uncooperative male’s pants pocket after a physical struggle.
On June 14, 2018, just before 4:00 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputies responded to the report of a male panhandler who just pointed a pistol at a victim while he was stopped at a traffic light in the 5600 block of E. Sprague. The victim stated the male put the gun in his pocket and was last seen walking east on foot, pushing a shopping cart.
Deputy Eric Reyes, the first to arrive at the scene, observed the male, later identified as 38-year-old Steven J. Kester, sitting on a short brick wall in front of the bank. As Deputy Reyes exited his vehicle, he observed a large object/bulge in Kester’s right front pants pocket where the victim stated Kester had placed the pistol. At gunpoint, Deputy Reyes gave commands for Kester to show his hands, to not reach for anything and to get on the ground. Kester refused to comply and began yelling “Just (expletive) kill me! Shoot me right here in the head!” Deputy Reyes told Kester he knew he had a gun and to not reach for it. Kester replied “(expletive) you! I am not giving you my gun, you’ll have to (expletive) kill me!”
Deputy Reyes advised dispatch and responding Deputies, via his radio, Kester was uncooperative.
Even after Deputy Tom Walker and Deputy Jeff Getchell arrived to assist, Kester remained defiant, would not follow commands and continued to yell. With Kester’s hands visible, Deputy Walker and Deputy Getchell approached from the sides as Deputy Reyes continued to provide lethal cover in the event Kester tried to grab the pistol. As they took ahold of Kester’s arms, he began to physically resist and break free from their grasp.
Both Deputies struggled to gain control of Kester’s arms/hands but he broke free and began reaching toward his waistband/pocket. Deputy Reyes holstered his weapon and quickly join the fight to gain control of Kester and prevent him from accessing the pistol he reportedly had. As Kester continued to fight/resist, Deputies used force/strikes to take him to the ground as they worked to keep Kester’s hands away from his pockets. They eventually gained control of Kester and placed him in handcuffs. They rolled him onto his side and Deputy Reyes located a Ruger LCP .380 in his pants pocket. When Deputy Reyes secured the weapon, he observed the magazine was loaded but the chamber was empty. The serial number of the firearm was checked and had not been reported stolen.
Spokane Valley Fire and AMR responded to the scene to provide medical attention for Kester who continued to yell obscenities and thrash around while stating he wanted to be shot. He was transported to the hospital and the Spokane County Jail by AMR with a Deputy inside the ambulance due to his continued aggressive/violent behavior.
Kester was booked for Assault 1st Degree.
The victim was contacted after Kester was taken into custody. He told Deputy Getchell he heard Kester yelling as he was stopped in traffic at a red light. When he finally looked over at Kester, he noticed Kester was pointing the pistol at the victim as Kester tried to remove it from a holster. The victim started honking his horn hoping the driver ahead of him would move so he wouldn’t be shot but he said the driver was on the phone and apparently oblivious to the events. He told Deputy Getchell he thought he was going to be shot and without a doubt, he was in fear for his life.