Detectives Investigate an Ongoing Neighbor Dispute that Escalated into a Murder/Suicide
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives are investigating a shooting which led to an adult male victim sustaining life-threatening gunshot wounds. The suspect then walked back to his residence and turned the gun on himself, taking his own life.
On May 30, 2019, at approximately 6:05 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies and Spokane Valley Deputies responded to a reported shooting at a residence in the 7600 block of E. Bigelow Gulch in Spokane County.
The adult male caller/victim reported he had an earlier altercation with his neighbor. He had just returned home, and the same neighbor shot at and hit him.
Multiple Spokane County and Spokane Valley Deputies responded to the scene. Arriving Deputies blocked traffic on Bigelow Gulch for the safety of the public and observed a male, later identified as the suspect, walk from the victim’s driveway and west on Bigelow Gulch. As a Deputy safely approached, the suspect noticed the Deputy and quickened his pace, walking past his driveway. The Deputy identified himself and began giving several commands for the suspect to stop and show his hands, but he continued to approach the Deputy, unfazed. As the Deputy moved to a position of cover, the suspect turned around and walked toward the back of his residence, out of sight.
With additional Deputies at the scene to assist, they moved toward the suspects home and heard a single gunshot. Moments later a 911 call was received where the caller was reporting her husband just shot himself behind their house located in the 7500 block of E. Bigelow Gulch.
The victim was transported to the hospital for life-threatening injuries, and as of 12:30 this afternoon, he was listed in critical condition. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The scene was secured, and Major Crimes Detectives were called to continue the investigation with the assistance of the Spokane County Sheriff Forensic Unit. SIRT Team volunteer conducted traffic control due to the closure of Bigelow Gulch until it was reopened at approximately 3:00 a.m.
The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the name of the deceased at a later date, when appropriate.
Investigators also learned Deputies had responded to the area at approximately 4:15 p.m. for a reported road rage/argument. During that call, it was reported that employees of the victim were followed to the victim’s home by the suspect. The suspect was upset after an incident on Bigelow Gulch, just west of Argonne. The employees said they were in the outside lane, approaching the portion of the road where it narrows into one lane. The employee driver signaled and began to merge into the inside lane as the suspect sped up in an attempt to cut them off. The suspect followed the employees to the victim’s residence, and the employee driver exited the vehicle, approached the suspect’s vehicle and asked what he wanted. The suspect began yelling that they had cut him off, that he has lived in the area for many years, and they needed to respect him. The suspect continued yelling about the business and then stopped and displayed a handgun without saying another word as he backed out of the driveway.
The Deputy contacted the suspect at the front of his residence. He was drinking what appeared to be an alcoholic beverage as he spoke with the Deputy. He admitted to having an argument with the victim’s employees and displaying a handgun. He said when the driver approached his vehicle, he removed the pistol from the center console and put it on the seat next to him but denied pointing the pistol at anyone. The suspect referred to the victim’s employees and “Mexicans” and told the Deputy they were likely illegals.
With the suspect presenting/displaying the weapon without a threat or any apparent justification other than intimidation, he was issued a criminal gross misdemeanor citation for Unlawful Display of a Firearm. The suspect couldn’t believe he had done anything wrong and said he would fight the citation in court.