Cpl N. Briggs #1177
Friday, March 5, 2021 at 4:19 a.m.
DV suspect hiding in wall can’t evade arrest
On 03-04-2021 a little before 11:30PM, SPD received information that a domestic violence victim may be in jeopardy at a residence in the 4000 block of N Wall St in Northwest Spokane. Officers quickly began gathering information and responded to the residence.
41-year-old Joseph Piapot has a violent history and was prohibited from contacting the victim, or being at the residence, due to a court order. Officers were faced with a precarious situation: without knowing what was going on inside they feared the victim could be in peril. But lacking specific information about the nature or magnitude of the danger officers didn’t want to act abruptly and force a confrontation which could endanger everyone involved.
Officers began attempting communication with Piapot early in the incident to no avail. Given the uncertainty of the situation, the potential for violence, and the lack of cooperation on the part of the suspect, specialty resources were utilized.
On-duty hostage negotiators, SWAT officers, and K-9 units were summoned to the scene. SWAT resources utilized armored vehicles around the residence. The armor served several purposes: it allowed officers to safely position themselves close enough to the residence to react if it became apparent the victim was in imminent danger, and it acted as a barrier between the incident and uninvolved people and residences in the neighborhood.
An SPD negotiator continuously attempted to talk with Piapot and facilitate a peaceful surrender. Despite communication being attempted via various means, Piapot would not talk to police.
A search warrant for the residence was sought and granted. Around 1:30AM officers entered the residence. The adult female victim and a juvenile were quickly located and able to be evacuated from the residence.
Officers went into the home looking for Piapot. Throughout the search multiple attempts at communication were attempted giving Piapot directives to give up, all of which went unheeded. Given the serious nature of the criminal acts, Piapot’s continued unwillingness to surrender, and his violent history, a K-9 unit was used to help officers search the residence.
Officers and the K-9 unit began an intensive search of the home which initially didn’t yield Piapot’s whereabouts. As the exhaustive search continued the K-9 alerted on an area of wall which appeared solid and adorned with furniture. Closer examination revealed a small void between the interior and exterior walls where Piapot was secreted. Once his hiding location was discovered Piapot surrendered and no force was utilized to take him into custody.
Piapot was booked into Spokane County Jail for two counts of residential burglary-DV and two counts of court order violation-DV. Piapot is an eleven-time felon with four convictions for felony assault.
Officer John O'Brien