Friday, July 10, 2009

30 days for boy who killed woman he mistook for bear


MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – A 15-year-old boy found guilty of second-degree manslaughter for shooting and killing a woman he mistook as a bear will spend 30 days in juvenile detention.

According to investigators, Tyler Kales, who was 14 at the time, was bear hunting with his older brother Aug. 2, 2008 on Sauk Mountain in rural Skagit County, near Rockport.

He says in the fog that shrouded the mountain that day, he mistook 54-year-old Pamela Almli for a bear and fired a shot. The bullet struck her in the head, killing her.

Kales was found guilty last month of second-degree manslaughter. The judge acquitted him of first-degree manslaughter, finding he did not act recklessly However, the judge said firing on an outline in the fog from 150 yards away wasn’t a hunting accident.

“You ignored and broke all the rules handling a gun,” said Gail Blacker, Almli’s sister, at Kales’ sentencing Thursday.

Almli was hiking with a friend on the Sauk Mountain trail when Kales’ bullet hit her.

“Imagine the horror of a friend killed before your eyes,” said Blacker.

Now, Almli's relatives struggle to answer her preschool-age grandkids’ difficult questions about the killing.

“(He) wants to get in his Buzz Lightyear outfit and fly to heaven and bring grandma back,” said Carrie Almli, Pamela’s daughter-in-law.

Kales also spoke before his sentencing.

“I can’t imagine what they go through every day or how they feel,” said Kales, with his voice trembling. “All I want to say is how sorry I am and hope they can forgive me.

In addition to the juvenile detention, Kales will serve 12 months under supervision with counseling and perform 120 hours of community service. Forty of those hours must be spent teaching others about hunter safety.

The shooting compelled some to push for stricter gun laws in Washington state and others wanted new signs at trailheads to warn hikers of the danger. The Department of Fish and Wildlife says neither has happened.

Bear hunting season in most of Western Washington begins again Aug. 1.

Police shoot, kill man in northeast Spokane

Jim Camden / The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Police shot and killed a man after he stabbed an officer this morning in northeast Spokane, witnesses say.

The shooting, shortly before 9 a.m., occurred after police received reports of a man trying to break into one residence, then assaulting a woman after breaking into another residence, where he also stabbed a dog, according to investigators from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department.

The female officer who was stabbed is being treated at a local hospital, and the injured resident was taken to Holy Family Hospital. Investigators have not yet revealed their conditions. SpokAnimal is searching for the dog, a black pit bull, who ran away after being stabbed.

The events occurred over several blocks west-southwest of the Northeast Community Center, said Sgt. Dave Reagan, sheriff’s department spokesman.

The first call to police was from a woman in the 1200 block of East Gordon. She reported that a man with a skateboard was trying to kick in her door but had left without gaining entry.

Several minutes later, police received a report from the 1300 block of East Glass, where a woman said she had been hit by an intruder with a skateboard.

Michael Baesman was asleep in the basement of the house when he heard Tara Tanner, 34, yelling, “Michael, Michael, please come help me. There’s someone in the house.

Baesman said when he got upstairs, a man he had never seen before pulled out a large knife, possibly a butcher or kitchen knife.

The man never said anything, even after Baesman asked what he was doing.

Baesman said he, Tanner and two others who were in the home ran into the fenced backyard.

When they tried to climb the fence, it broke and Tanner fell, cutting her leg, Baesman said.

While she was on the ground, the assailant beat her several times with his skateboard, Baesman said.

A black female pit bull then ran toward the assailant, who stabbed her in the back, according to owner Vince Smith, who is Tanner’s son and was one of the occupants of the house. He said Molly, who has white on her neck and chest, ran away. “I’m just hoping she’s all right,” Smith said.

The assailant then ran about five blocks down Courtland Avenue, just west of Napa, where police tried to stop a man walking down the street carrying a skateboard and a knife, Reagan said.

After the man stabbed the policewoman, officers shot him several times, Baesman said.

Investigators don’t yet know the man’s identity or age.

Details of the series of incidents are still unfolding. “It’s been kind of a crazy event,” Reagan said.

Al Piper, who lives with his wife about two blocks from where police confronted the suspect, said they heard a noise that sounded like firecrackers about 8:30 a.m. “The dogs went wild,” Piper said.

Candy Reichman, who lives across street from where the man was shot, said she was sitting in her living room and talking on the phone when she heard loud noises that she assumed were gunshots.

“I opened my front door and saw the body and hoped it was a Taser” that caused him to be on the ground, Reichman said.

Because it was an officer-involved shooting, Spokane police invoked the protocol that turns over the investigation to the sheriff’s department.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Men allegedly use rope, Buick to drag a bull


Two men are under arrest for using a rope and a Buick to drag a bull along a King County road Sunday afternoon.

Several 911 calls came flooding in around 4:30 from witnesses reporting a 1989 Buick Century was "dragging a cow with a rope" in the 4200 block of S. Star Lake Road near Auburn, said Sgt. John Urquhart with the King County Sheriff's Department.

When deputies arrived, they found the car with a rope around the bull's neck and tied around the car's window frame. The bull was lying flat on its stomach, with all four legs bloodied and spread outward.

Witnesses reported the bull was obviously in distress, strongly resisting as it was pulled down the street causing hoof and leg injuries, until it collapsed where deputies found it, Urquhart said.

The driver, 75-year-old Jonas Arnbrister, and 57-year-old passenger Terrance Neff told deputies they were moving the bull to another pasture and they always used the car-dragging method because "he is stubborn."

The passenger said the bull wasn't hurt and told the deputy, "You have to be like that with cows."

Urquhart says the bull finally stood up, obviously in pain, and was moved to a grassy shoulder.

Investigators determined based on the drag marks, the bull was dragged for about a half mile. They found one streak of blood stretched nearly 20 feet.

The bull was given pain medication and turned over to the Washington State Animal Response Team for safekeeping.

Both men were booked into the King County Jail for investigation of first-degree animal cruelty. Neff is being held on $15,000 bail while Arnbrister is being held on $10,000. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Officer dragged 50 feet by fleeing car


A police officer was dragged about 50 feet through a parking lot early Saturday when a car suddenly took off in reverse as the officer was trying to prevent the driver from escaping.

The incident took place just before 2 a.m. when the officer spotted the suspect driving recklessly through downtown in a blue Honda.

The officer pulled over the driver, who steered his car into a parking lot near First Avenue and Lenora Street.

As the officer got out to make contact with the driver, the Honda suddenly sped by the officer toward the parking lot's only exit, but the driver was blocked in by another patrol car.

The officer ran up and grabbed the driver to prevent his escape, but the driver suddenly reversed the car, dragging the officer about 50 feet.

The Honda struck a parked car, enabling the officer to disengage from the vehicle. The suspect then drove past the other patrol vehicle and fled the scene.

The suspect is still at large, and an investigation continues.

The officer was taken to an area hospital for an exam. He was sent home, suffering back pains.