Prosecutor Determines Two Officer Involved Shootings Justified - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Prosecutor Determines Two Officer Involved Shootings Justified

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40-year-old Danny Cecil Jones (Left) and 22-year-old Justin Cairns (right) were shot and killed during officer involved shootings. Prosecutors have ruled the shootings justified. 40-year-old Danny Cecil Jones (Left) and 22-year-old Justin Cairns (right) were shot and killed during officer involved shootings. Prosecutors have ruled the shootings justified.
SPOKANE, Wash. - On Friday, the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team announced the Spokane County Prosecutors Office ruled two 2013 officer-involved shootings justified.

The first officer involved shooting ruled justified by the Prosecutors Office on Friday happened on May 16th, 2013 up in the Nine Mile Falls area. In that shooting, officers were attempting to arrest 22-year-old homicide suspect Justin Cairns in the 22000 block of W. Charles Rd.

When officers arrived at the house they believed Cairns to be in, they set up a perimeter. Once contact was made with Cairns, officers told him to put his hands up and get on his knees. Cairns pointed at an officer with his left hand while he put his right hand down toward his waist area. One officer said this movement is consistent with what people do when they grab a firearm. Then they saw Cairns jump a fence and run around toward the front of the house. Officers identified themselves when Cairns got to the front of the house and the officers at the front of the home fired upon Cairns striking him at least one time and mortally wounding him. Cairns suffered a gunshot wound to the head. 

Cairns was the suspect in the murder of Cyrus Jones that happened in the 1400 block of W. Grace.

Deputy Prosecutor Driscoll reviewed the case and stated:

"In this case, officers were searching for Justin Cairns who was suspected in a homicide involving a gun, possibly a .380 auto. Once at this home, the initial officers took up a containment position until more resources could arrive. However, it appears that Justin Cairns was most likely listening to police radio traffic, as a streaming police scanner was playing in his bedroom. He was confronted in his backyard by Officers Erikson and Christensen, disregarding their commands. He ran to the front porch of his house, disregarding commands from Officers Jensen, Valdez and Lesser. He turned towards those officers, saying, ‘Shoot me [expletive] ,’ while appearing to reach for something in his waistband, which later turned out to be a cellphone. (An airsoft pistol was found in a grassy area in the backyard. His younger brother had seen him with this in his waistband earlier that night.) All three officers felt that he was reaching for a weapon, knowing that he was a murder suspect, and felt they, or their fellow officers were in mortal danger. All three fired multiple shots from their rifles, killing Justin Cairns.

Conclusion: Officers D. Lesser, Jensen and Valdez were justified in their use of deadly force. They were facing a resistive suspect, who disregarded multiple commands to give up, whom they suspected of recently using deadly force during a homicide, constituting a ‘threat of serious physical harm.’ The suspect’s actions immediately prior to being shot could be reasonably construed as intending to make the officers believe he was armed.”


The second shooting happened on August 22, 2013 at the Salvation Army building on E. Indiana.

In that shooting, Spokane Police Officers were called to a suspicious person call in the area of Division and N. River Drive. Officers were notified a red Dodge truck had intentionally collided with another car in what appeared to be a road rage incident.

Officers found the truck, and after a short pursuit, were able to corner it in the parking lot of the Salvation Army. Officers have said when they attempted to contact the suspect, identified as 40-year-old Danny Jones, witnesses said Jones tried to ram officers with his truck, at which time they opened fire.

Jones was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

On Friday, Deputy Prosecutor Driscoll said:

 “The facts show, from what was observed by officers, as well as civilians, that Mr. Jones posed a threat of serious physical harm to officers or others. A motor vehicle can be used as a deadly weapon. Mr. Jones had rammed [a] pickup at least twice to start this incident, had rammed two police cars while trying to stop him in the Salvation Army parking lot, and viewing the photographic evidence attached to this report, as well as eyewitness accounts, was pointed directly towards the front door of the Salvation Army building, specifically the residential area of the building.

Mr. Jones ignored repeated commands to stop his vehicle, exit his vehicle, and get on the ground, as confirmed by officers on scene as well as many civilians. There was probable cause to believe he had committed crimes for felony assault that threatened the infliction of serious physical harm. He was continuing to ignore officers’ commands and continuing to pose a threat to others with his vehicle and the way he was driving it.

Conclusion: Officers Lyons, Collins, Lesser, and Lt. King were justified in their use of deadly force. They were facing a suspect who disregarded multiple commands to stop his vehicle, get out of his vehicle and get on the ground, who had rammed three different vehicles, including two that were occupied, and whom they had probable cause to believe had committed multiple serious felonies. It was reasonable for officers to conclude Mr. Jones actions constituted a ‘threat of serious physical harm’ to both officers and civilians.”


Charges will not be filed against the four officers involved.
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