Update to downtown homicide

Ofc. Teresa Fuller

Saturday, June 7, 2014 at Midnight

Update to downtown homicide: As Spokane Police detectives were still at the crime scene at the STA Plaza, officers received a report of a male matching the suspect’s description in a confrontation with a home owner in Peaceful Valley. Due to the serious nature of the original incident, numerous resources were deployed in order to ensure public and officers safety.

Spokane Police Major Crimes Investigators had footage from surveillance and were able to identify a possible suspect, 40 year old Donald T. Phillips. Phillips has an extensive and violent criminal history. He was also currently wanted on a felony Department of Corrections warrant.

Just before 5:30 p.m., a homeowner in Peaceful Valley called saying he had seen a male matching the suspect description at the corner of Main/Cedar. Officers responded to check the area and were flagged down by another homeowner. The second witness/victim told officers the suspect had barged into his house and attempted to hold him at knife point.

Numerous resources were called out due to the serious nature of the crime, the suspect’s criminal history, and because of his continued criminal behavior. SWAT, Spokane Fire Department, ambulance, K9’s, and Air 1 were all brought in as patrol officers secured the perimeter in an attempt to ensure the suspect was locked into one specific area. Most of Peaceful Valley was closed down to all civilian traffic and citizens were asked to stay in their homes until contacted by police.

Just after 9 p.m., the suspect, who had changed clothes, walked out of a yard on the north side of Main just west of Cedar. Officers were able to take him into custody without incident. SWAT officers then made their way down the hill in the area he had come out of to check for evidence and discovered a house fire in the 1400 block of west Water. SWAT team members were initially able to get the fire out, but then called in additional Spokane Fire Department resources to help. The investigation into the exact cause of the fire is still underway, but it is believed that Phillips was involved.

Phillips will be booked into jail on his warrant and for the homicide. Investigators are still working to determine what other charges he will face after tonight’s incidents.

The Spokane Police Department would sincerely like to thank the residents of Peaceful Valley for their patience during tonight’s incident. Their cooperation was key to making this a successful operation.

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