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Court Documents Released In East Spokane Officer Involved Shooting

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New details were released on Wednesday surrounding the officer-involved shooting in east Spokane on January 16th, 2014 New details were released on Wednesday surrounding the officer-involved shooting in east Spokane on January 16th, 2014
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SPOKANE, Wash. - Probable cause documents in an officer-involved shooting that took place in east Spokane on January 16th were released on Wednesday. In the circumstances supporting probable cause to charge Aaron Johnson with 2nd Degree Assault, officers described their interaction with Johnson and the moments leading up to the shooting. 

Spokane Police say they arrived at Truth Ministries at 5 minutes after receiving a "person with a weapon" call at 8:59 p.m. The initial call said that Aaron Johnson was threatening people with a 4x4 post and was refusing to leave Truth Ministries. When police arrived they found Johnson in an alleyway nearby sitting under a blanket. Officers say Johnson jumped up and pulled a knife after the officers identified themselves. The documents noted that Johnson was acting in a "strange behavior."

Three officers tried to calm Johnson down and told him to drop the knife. The report says Johnson refused the officer's commands, took a defensive stance, cursed at them, and began waving the knife in a "forward stabbing motion."

At that time Spokane Police Sergeant Terry Preuninger arrived on scene and could not see Johnson due to parked cars in the alleyway. Preuninger came to a stop past the last parked vehicle and saw Johnson to his left with the knife in his hand. The report states that at this time Preuninger was about 15 feet away from Johnson, and Preuninger said Johnson looked very agitated and tense while gripping the knife with a "thousand yard stare." Preuninger decided he was too close to Johnson and backed his patrol car out. 

It was at this time Spokane Police Officer Michael Schneider deployed his taser at Johnson, who reacted by straightening up and becoming tense. Preuninger stopped his car and got out to assist with the arrest, saying he expected Johnson to fall to the ground from the tasing. Johnson then fought through the taser by quickly turning and then charged aggressively towards Officer Christopher Conrath with the knife. Officer Conrath feared for his life and raised his gun to shoot, but before he pulled the trigger, Johnson turned towards Preuninger. Fearing for the safety of Sgt. Preuninger, Officers Conrath and Holton Widhalm both fired their guns, striking Johnson just a few feet away from Preuninger. Sgt. Preuninger stated Johnson would have made it to him with the knife before he was able to get away. All of this happened within one minute of officers arriving on scene at 9:04 p.m. A total of nine shots were fired in the incident. 

Following the shooting, Johnson was immediately treated for his injuries and transported to Sacred Heart, and the report lists that at the time of its release, Johnson was listed in stable condition. The documents state that a used syringe was found on Johnson at the hospital, and a blood sample was taken to determine if there were any drugs in Johnson's system. 

The shooting is still under investigation by the Spokane Investigative Regional Response (SIRR) Team.
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