Cpl. Ronald Van Tassel
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:29 a.m.
Updated January 12, 2021
The names of the Spokane Police Officers involved in the Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) from January 5, 2021 in the area of Ash Street and Queen Avenue are being released. Sergeant Brent Austin, Corporal Anthony Guzzo, Officer Kyle Heuett, Officer Winston Brooks, Officer Brandon Lynch and Officer Brandon Fabian fired their weapon in the OIS.
Sergeant Brent Austin was hired by the Spokane Police Department (SPD) in April of 1998. Prior to working at SPD, Sgt. Austin worked for the Kennewick Police Department from January 1996 until being hired at SPD. He was an SPD Co-Op from 1993 to 1996.
Sergeant Austin was promoted to Sergeant in July 2006. He oversaw the Special Investigation Unit until 2019 when he took over as Sergeant of the Patrol Anti-Crime Team. He has been a patrol officer and a K9 officer. He has been a member of SWAT since 2000 and became the Senior Team Leader in 2016.
Sergeant Austin has received two Chief’s Citation Awards. The first in 2004 for his work on SWAT and the second in 2014 for his work on a large-scale, multi-agency drug trafficking investigation. He received a Distinguished Service Medal in 2020. He has received numerous letters of commendation.
Sergeant Austin attended Spokane Community College and received an Associate in Applied Science – Criminal Justice Degree.
Sergeant Austin works in a plain clothes unit with the potential for undercover work therefore his department photo is not being released.
Corporal Anthony Guzzo was hired by SPD in December of 2014. He was a Co-Op with SPD from January 2010 to February 2013 then a Reserve Officer from February 2013 to December 2014.
Corporal Guzzo was promoted to Corporal in April 2020 and is a current SWAT team Emergency Medical Technician. He was a member of the Civil Disturbance Unit from May 2017 to March 2019.
Corporal Guzzo has received two Chief’s Citation Awards in January of 2017 for the ESM program and in September of 2017 for his patrol team’s proactive efforts in handling calls for service. He received a Life Saving Award in 2018 for treatment to a gunshot victim. He received a letter of commendation for response and first aid rendered to a suicidal person in 2017.
Corporal Guzzo attended Washington State University and graduated in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.
Officer Kyle Heuett was hired by SPD in January 2001. Prior to SPD, he worked for the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department as a Marine Deputy from May 2000 until September 2000.
Officer Heuett is a current SWAT team member and has been a member of the Civil Disturbance Unit, the Dignitary Protection Team as well as a Field Training Officer for new recruits.
Officer Heuett has received the Silver Star Award in 2010, a Life Saving Medal in 2016 and 2017 along with the Chief’s Citation Award in 2015 and 2019.
Officer Heuett attended Spokane Community College and graduated in 2000 with an Associate in Applied Science – Criminal Justice Degree
Officer Winston Brooks was hired by SPD in November of 2013. Prior to working at SPD, Officer Brooks works for the Coeur d’Alene Police Department from September of 2009 until being hired at SPD. At Cd’A P.D. he was a Detective in the Juvenile Crimes Units and a School Resource Officer. He was a Spokane County Reserve Deputy from January 2009 to March 2009. He also worked at the Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center from April 2007 until August 2009.
Officer Brooks is currently assigned to PACT and has been a member of the Dignitary Protection Team and a Field Training Officer.
Officer Brooks attended North Idaho College and graduated in 2000 with an Associate’s Degree in Science. He attended Gonzaga University and graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education.
Officer Brooks received the Idaho Police Humanitarian of the year award in 2010. He received a Letter of Chief’s Commendation in 2016 for Field Training Officer exemplary dedication.
Officer Brooks works in a plain clothes unit with the potential for undercover work therefore his department photo is not being released.
Officer Brandon Lynch was hired by SPD in November of 2013. He was Co-Op for SPD from 2010 to 2012 then a Reserve Officer in 2013. Officer Lynch is currently a SWAT team member and Field Training Officer.
Officer Lynch attended Eastern Washington University studying Business Administration.
Officer Lynch received the Chief’s Citation Award September of 2017 for his patrol team’s proactive efforts in handling calls for service.
Officer Brandon Fabian was hired by SPD in November of 2013. He became a K9 officer in 2018 and is a member of SWAT.
Officer Fabian served four years in the United States Marine Corps from June 2000 to June 2004 and received an honorable discharge. He served as a Reconnaissance Marine for over three years, he attended the School of Infantry along with Airborne and Ranger schools. He earned the Rifle Expert Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal.
Officer Fabian attended Eastern Washington University and graduated in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education.
A traffic stop of a homicide suspect ended in shots being fired by the suspect and responding Officers. Officers attempted to make a traffic stop on the suspect, who then attempted to flee. Officers immediately used a PIT maneuver on the suspect car to avoid a vehicle pursuit. Once the vehicle came to a stop, the suspect exited the vehicle firing his weapon. Several Officers on scene returned fire hitting the suspect. After the scene was made safe, Officers provided medical attention, but the suspect died at the scene.
No uninvolved citizens or Officers were injured during this incident. The Spokane Independent Investigative Response (SIIR) Team is investigating.
On December 27th, 2020 Detectives from the Spokane Police Department conducted a homicide investigation at 51 S Madelia St (See previous press release). Over the course of the investigation, Major Crimes Detectives developed probable cause and had a warrant issued for the suspect for 2nd degree murder.
On January 5, 2021 Officers were notified of a possible location for the suspect. Officers observed the suspect inside of a vehicle driving in north Spokane. Due to the serious nature of the crime, a plan was formulated to apprehend the suspect. Officers from several specialty units were used to conduct a traffic stop on the suspect’s vehicle. As Officers attempted to make that traffic stop, the suspect attempted to flee in the vehicle. To avoid a vehicle pursuit, Officers were able to quickly PIT the suspect’s vehicle, causing it to spin out in the intersection of Queen and Ash.
After the vehicle came to a stop, the suspect exited a short time later firing a weapon. Officers returned fire, striking the suspect. After the scene was safe Officers moved in and started life saving measures on the suspect. Medics from the Spokane Fire Department and AMR responded and also attempted life saving measures. However, the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Officer Involved Protocol was enacted. The SIIR Team is on-scene investigating the incident and processing the scene. The SIIR Team is comprised of multiple agencies in eastern Washington, including the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, the Washington State Patrol and the Spokane Police Department.
Officer John O'Brien