Last night, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Spokane Police Officers worked together to apprehend a dangerous fleeing suspect who resisted arrest after a pursuit. The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Vincent P. Thunderhawk, resisted arrest at the end of the pursuit and K9 Laslo and a Taser were needed to be used to safely take him into custody.
The incident began on June 1, 2016 at 10:00 p.m., when Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Richmond observed a Gray Impala driving recklessly in the area of Trails Road and Euclid Road. The driver, Thunderhawk, was traveling in excess of the speed limit and at one point he swerved toward the shoulder of the road as he appeared to try and pass another vehicle. He then swerved back to the center of the road and tried to pass the vehicle over a double yellow line, almost causing a collision.
Deputy Richmond activated his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to stop Thunderhawk but instead of stopping, Thunderhawk continued to accelerate and flee. With no vehicle or pedestrian traffic in the area, Thunderhawk reached speeds of 80 to 85 mph.
Sergeant David Thornburg setup up ahead of the pursuit and deployed spike strips in the area of 6th and Government Way. Thunderhawk rounded the corner prior to Sergeant Thornburg’s location at a high rate of speed and, tires squealing, he crossed over the centerline before hitting the spike stripes with two tires. Even with his passenger’s side tires deflating, he continued to try and evade Deputies.
Fearing for the safety of the public, Deputy Richmond terminated the pursuit as Thunderhawk continued toward a red light at 3rd and Cedar at approximately 50 mph. Thunderhawk continued traveling east on 3rd at a high rate of speed as he weaved in and out of traffic.
A short time later, dispatch advised Deputies and Spokane Police Officers, who had arrived in the area to assist, of a reckless driver report in the area of Southeast Blvd. and Stone Street. Patrol Units began moving toward that area as it was clear Thunderhawk failed to slow down after the pursuit was terminated.
Sergeant Thornburg located Thunderhawk near Manito Park. There were sparks coming from the passenger’s side of the vehicle as it swerved back and forth northbound on Grand Blvd. Sergeant Thornburg pulled in behind Thunderhawk with his lights and siren activated, but Thunderhawk did not stop and continued driving recklessly on the city streets at approximately 50-60 mph.
In the area of 37th and Grand Blvd. the suspect jumped over a median, drove up on the sidewalk, barely missing a vehicle, and then back across Grand Blvd. over the center median onto the sidewalk, almost striking another vehicle, before continuing south.
With Thunderhawk’s extremely dangerous behavior and complete disregard for the safety of others, Sergeant Thornburg attempted a PIT maneuver to safely end the pursuit however, Thunderhawk would slam on his brakes or swerve when Sergeant Thornburg tried to get into position.
In the 700 block of East 40th, with speeds at 25-30 mph, Sergeant Thornburg successfully performed a PIT maneuver causing the Impala to spin and slide into a maple tree. Sergeant Thornburg and a SPD Officer boxed Thunderhawk in to stop any escape attempt. Thunderhawk revved the engine of the vehicle as he tried to get away. Several commands were given for Thunderhawk to show his hands. He did not follow the commands, would not exit the vehicle, and yelled “(expletive) you!”
Thunderhawk finally climbed out of the driver’s side window with his hands up but he would not follow commands to get on the ground and began yelling he couldn’t be caught or arrested. He was ordered to get on the ground several more times but he refused and started yelling “Just shoot me!” as he walked toward Sergeant Thornburg.
Corporal Thurman and K9 Laslo arrived at the scene, but Thunderhawk continued to defy warnings that K9 Laslo would be used to take him into custody if he did not go to the ground. Corporal Thurman deployed K9 Laslo but the suspect continued to fight and would not go to the ground even after K9 Laslo made contact. At this time, a Taser was deployed and Thunderhawk fell to the ground. Several Deputies and Officers took control of the suspect and placed him in handcuffs without further incident.
Thunderhawk received medical aid prior to being transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail. Thunderhawk told Deputy Richmond he knew law enforcement was trying to stop him but he fled anyway. He said he had been involved in a domestic violence incident earlier and he didn’t want to go to jail. He told Deputy Richmond, “I beat up my old lady and when you pulled behind me, I just gunned it.”
Thunderhawk was booked into jail for Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement and Resisting Arrest. He also faces charges of Assault 4th Degree DV from an earlier incident that occurred at the casino.