A pregnant, unarmed woman was shot during a drug raid in Spokane, Washington on Friday morning, and she remained hospitalized as investigators pieced together exactly what happened in the county’s third officer-involved shooting within a month.
A Washington State Patrol detective sergeant shot the woman, who is 39 weeks pregnant, while “serving a search warrant” at the Victoria Apartments on Lincoln Street, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, reports Meghann M. Cuniff of the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
The shooting is being investigated by the Sheriff’s office, along with members of the Spokane Police Department and the Washington State Patrol.
Officers found no weapons in the home, confirmed Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan. He claimed they did, however, find drugs — crack cocaine, marijuana, and controlled prescription medications — during execution of the search warrant.
But a woman who identified herself as the victim’s mother, but who wouldn’t give her name, said there were no drugs or weapons in the home.
“During the entry, a female suspect inside the apartment became non-compliant with officers’ instructions,” Reagan claimed. “When she attempted to flee out a bedroom window, officers attempted to restrain her. During efforts to prevent her escape, a shot was fired and the woman suffered a minor wound to her upper torso. She fell out the window and received first aid from containment officers stationed at the back of the apartments.”
Sgt. Reagan offered no further details about why the detective used deadly force, which law enforcement officers are trained to use only if they believe their lives are in danger.
No explanation has been offered as to exactly how a fleeing, pregnant, unarmed woman — attempting to escape out a window — was a threat to any of the officers’ lives.
The woman said the shooting occurred just before 9 a.m., after investigators had declared the apartment cleared.
Tensions ran high for hours after the shooting as the victim’s family arrived and her mother told them of the gunfire.
“They shot an unarmed pregnant lady for no reason!” she screamed outside the apartment complex.
She said her daughter is expecting a baby boy, and experienced labor pains Thursday night.
“They better hope nothing happened to that baby,” the woman said.
Reagan said he didn’t have an update on the woman’s condition.
It appeared the woman was shot in the arm or shoulder area, according to a neighbor, Jason Thompson. He said she was bleeding, but conscious and alert after the shooting.
Thompson said he saw the encounter as he was heading to his car, and believes the woman was unarmed. He said he didn’t know her name, but that she appeared to be in her early 20s.
Neighbor Carmen “Boots” Nelson said she and her stepson were inside her apartment when they heard a gunshot.
Nelson said neither she nor her stepson heard officers yell any commands before the shooting.
“I heard one gunshot, a woman screamed and a man hollered out afterward,” Nelson said. “I’m upset a pregnant woman was shot. I believe she didn’t deserve it.”
The shooting blocked the apartment building’s parking lot and closed Sinto Avenue between Monroe and Lincoln streets for more than eight hours.
Authorities would not identify the Washington State Patrol sergeant who shot the woman, but said he has been placed on paid leave, which is standard procedure.
The Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation under the “critical incident protocol” that calls for outside agencies to lead inquiries into officer-involved shootings.
Friday’s shooting involved members of the multi-agency Quad City Drug Task Force, which investigates drug dealing in Lewiston, Clarkston, Moscow and Pullman.