Man high on meth steals Franklin Co. patrol car, stopped when de - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Man high on meth steals Franklin Co. patrol car, stopped when deputy shoots his leg

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MESA, WA - The following is a press release from Prosecuting Attorney Shawn P. Sant, regarding the arrest of Michael Long in Mesa, WA.

"On April 11th, 2017 at approximately 4:52 p.m., Franklin County Sheriff deputies responded to suspicious activity in the area of Highway 17 and Scooteney Park Road in Mesa, WA. An investigation ensued and eventually Michael Long was placed under arrest for malicious mischief, domestic violence, in the area of Angeline Street off Caldona Avenue in Mesa.

"Long was handcuffed with his hands behind his back and placed in the passenger rear seat of FCSO Deputy Scott Wright's patrol vehicle. Deputy Wright secured Long's seat belt preparing Long for transport to the jail. FCSO deputies continued their investigation as Long remained handcuffed in the backseat of the patrol car. A short time later, civilian witnesses and other FCSO deputies heard Deputy Wright yell something to the effect of "Stop the car, don't do that" or similar commands. The patrol car was seen and heard accelerating with the engine revving and tires spinning. A single gunshot sound was heard and the patrol car came to a stop.

"Long was shot in the leg and provided immediate first aid by FCSO deputies on scene. An ambulance arrived a short time later and transported Long to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Long received medical treatment for the injury to the leg and was released a few days later.

"The Special Investigations Unit was activated and SIU members arrived on scene and conducted the investigation. Civilian witnesses and FCSO deputies both reported hearing the patrol car engine accelerate and gravel spinning on the road as Deputy Wright was on the passenger side of the patrol car. Deputy Wright received minor injuries from the patrol car's movement. 

"Deputy Wright provided a voluntary statement to SIU investigators. Deputy Wright stated that Long's behaviors were consistent with an individual under the influence of drugs. WSP Toxicology Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of methamphetamine in Long's blood. Deputy Wright reported that one of the witnesses at the scene had said Long was likely to fight or run and would not go willingly to jail.

"Deputy Wright states that when he went to check on Long in the patrol car he was surprised to find that Long had somehow moved into the front seat of the patrol car. Deputy Wright stated that he drew his gun after hearing the engine rev and Long grabbed the shift lever. Deputy Wright believed he fired one shot, consistent with the findings by the SIU investigation. Long immediately surrendered after the one shot and the patrol car came to an immediate stop.

"Deputy Wright stated that he was concerned for the safety of other deputies who had earlier been in the area in front of the patrol car. Deputy Wright shared his concerns for other people in the area had Long taken the car to the main road considering earlier witness statements about fight or flight. There was an FCSO issued rifle in the trunk of the patrol car.

"After reviewing and considering all the facts and circumstances surrounding Deputy Wright's use of force, the actions were reasonable and consistent with use of force under Washington State Law. RCW 9A.16.040 covers the use of deadly force by a peace officer. Deputy Wright's concern for his own safety, the safety of other nearby deputies, and citizens in the area justified the use of deadly force. Michael Long demonstrated a disregard for the safety of Deputy Wright and others when he tried to accelerate rapidly and caused minor injuries to Deputy Wright. This situation could have turned deadly if it evolved into a high speed pursuit. Deputy Wright's use of a firearm under these circumstances was reasonable and justified under the law.

"While this is a case of public interest, this matter is currently being prosecuted in Franklin County Superior Court. As this is a pending case, it would be improper to go into the usual amount of details typically released by the Prosecutor's Office in officer involved shooting cases. All defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law."