1.5+ Hour Standoff with Driver Armed with a Knife Ends Peacefully
A Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a vehicle last Friday evening, but the adult male driver did not pull over. He continued to drive for several blocks but eventually stopped. The suspect ignored commands, began yelling at the Deputy, and produced a knife in his right hand. With the suspect armed and at times holding the knife to his own throat, the SWAT Team and Hostage/Negotiators were called to the scene. Over 90 minutes later, the male surrendered and was taken into custody without further incident.
On October 25, 2019, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Acosta attempted to stop a Mercury Mountaineer for a traffic violation near Lyons and Washington. The vehicle continued south on Washington at approximately 20 mph despite the emergency lights of the fully marked patrol car behind him. Near Washington and Houston, Deputy Acosta activated his siren, but the driver, later identified as 53-year-old Schell R. Beach, peered into his mirror, threw his hands out the driver’s window, but still did not stop.
Beach came to a complete stop before turning west on Francis and then north on Stevens. He finally pulled over in the 6400 block of N. Stevens, but he still would not follow commands. He started yelling; he was off his medications and needed a smoke as he shut the vehicle off. Beach began reaching around the passenger compartment ignoring commands to stop and keep his hands visible. He sat back up in the seat, produced a knife, and held it to the side of his head.
Several Deputies and Spokane Police Officers arrived at the scene to assist with this extremely volatile and dangerous situation.
After learning Beach’s name, Deputies learned he had an active felony Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Escape Community Custody warrant for his arrest and had an extensive history of law enforcement contacts and arrests. They also learned Beach was involved in a similar incident last February and was eventually arrested for a DOC warrant.
Fearing Beach may flee the scene in the vehicle, risking the safety of the public, and not knowing if he was armed with any other weapons, Deputies successfully place spike strips under the tires. Less-lethal and lethal weapons options were deployed while the SWAT Team and Hostage/Negotiation Team were requested.
Beach continued to ignore commands and at times, would hold the knife to his throat.
The SWAT Team arrived and positioned armored tactical rescue vehicles to block any escape routes as the Negotiator spoke with Beach, trying to end the situation peacefully and without any injuries.
At approximately 12:08 a.m., Beach followed commands, exited the vehicle unarmed, and was safely taken into custody. Beach was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for the felony DOC warrant, a misdemeanor warrant, and Failure to Stop for a Law Enforcement Vehicle.
Thankfully, no one was injured during this incident, which consumed a large amount of law enforcement resources, including Air 1.