20-Time Convicted Felon, Armed with a Handgun, Attempts to Reach for the Gun and Grabs a Deputy’s Gun During Struggle Suspect Arrested for Numerous Charges
A 20-time convicted felon, a passenger in a stolen vehicle, initially followed commands but chose to reach for a handgun in his waistband when Deputies tried to detain him. While trying to get the suspect safely into custody, he continued to reach toward the weapon. During a struggle to control the suspect, his handgun was safely removed, but the suspect grabbed ahold of a Deputy’s handgun, appearing to try and disarm the Deputy. Eventually, the suspect was safely detained in handcuffs and ultimately charged with numerous felony and misdemeanor charges.
On March 7, 2023, at approximately 1:20 am, Spokane Valley Deputy J. Korpi stopped a suspicious gray 2018 Toyota Tundra with no visible license plates and a clearly altered trip permit in the back window. The vehicle was suspected to be a reported stolen vehicle out of Kootenai County, which was later confirmed.
Deputy Korpi contacted the driver, an adult female, and a passenger, later identified as 51-year-old Mark R. Yeager. With other Deputies arriving to assist, the driver was safely detained and placed in a patrol car.
Deputy Korpi moved to the passenger’s side to contact Yeager, who, up to this point, had followed commands and had his hand placed on the dash of the vehicle in clear view. Deputy Korpi opened the passenger door and observed a semi-automatic handgun tucked in Yeager’s waistband. Deputy Korpi drew his pistol and advised Yeager, and other Deputies, he saw the gun and told Yeager to keep his hands visible. Instead, Yeager lowered his right hand, moving toward the pistol. He grabbed Yeager’s right elbow while giving commands for Yeager to keep his hands up, but Yeager continued to push his arm toward the gun. With Yeager being inside a stolen vehicle, in possession of a firearm, wearing bulky clothing and a fanny pack, while actively disobeying commands to keep his hands up as he tried to move his hand toward the pistol, Deputy Korpi tried to control Yeager’s arm while now pointing his handgun at Yeager, telling him if he touched the firearm in his waistband, he would be shot.
Momentarily, Yeager’s effort to move his hand toward his gun lessened as he said something to the effect of, I don’t believe you. Yeager then renewed his attempt to push his arm toward his gun.
Deputy D. Werts reached through the driver’s side of the Toyota and grabbed Yeager’s left wrist. Deputy S. Turner and Deputy Korpi worked together to try and control Yeager’s right arm, with Deputy Korpi taking the opportunity to take control of Yeager’s weapon and remove it from his waistband. During the struggle, Yeager tried to take control of a Deputy’s sidearm, but his attempt was unsuccessful as the Deputies continued to use great restraint and not fire their weapons.
With Yeager’s pistol removed and out of reach, Deputies removed him from the vehicle and put him on the ground. He continued to resist attempts to get him in handcuffs, but eventually, he was subdued.
Yeager was provided medical treatment before he was transported to jail. He was advised of his rights and agreed to answer questions. Yeager is a 20-time convicted felon and prohibited from legally possessing firearms (criminal convictions include: Burglary 2nd, Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Attempt to Elude, Assault 2nd, Obstructing Law Enforcement, Escape 3rd plus several arrests not listed). He stated he had the firearm for a long time and claimed it was gifted to him since he could not legally purchase one. Yeager admitted he reached for the firearm stating he was tired of going to jail. He apologized for reaching for the pistol and challenging deputies to shoot him.
Deputies located suspected Methamphetamine – 65.8 Grams, Heroin – 51.8 Grams, a white powdery substance (possibly Fentanyl) – 12.7 grams, US Currency - $800.00 cash in the “fanny pack” Yeager was wearing. All were seized, including the firearm, a KAHR CW 45, and booked into evidence.
The stolen vehicle was seized pending a search warrant that was served today (3/8/23). Spokane Valley Investigative Unit (SVIU) Detectives recovered a second pistol (not reported stolen) and other property believed to possibly be stolen. Additional charges are expected.
Yeager was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 1st Degree, Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Attempt to Disarm Law Enforcement, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (3 counts), and Obstructing. His total bond was set at $50,000.
The detained female was later released without being charged, lacking probable cause to arrest her during the initial investigation.
This remains an active investigation, and additional charges/arrests are possible.