SPOKANE, Wash --- The reportedly accidental shooting in downtown on Tuesday has a lot of similarities to the accidental shooting involving former reserve deputy Dwayne Thurman last year.
The downtown shooting took place in a blue car at West Main Avenue and North Washington Street.
Jose Hernadez-Soto brought an AK-47 with him when his girlfriend Laura Nunez, her younger brother and his friend were visiting Spokane., according to court documents.
Hernandez-Soto asked Nunez’s younger brother to hand him the gun. That is when Nunez said she heard a loud boom and realized Hernandez-Soto had been shot, said the court documents.
Nunez told investigators her younger brother thought the safety was on. Hernandez-Soto died at the scene.
In this case, the teen was charged immediately, but in the Thurman case it took a year and a half to file charges, we wanted to know why.
Thurman was charged with first degree manslaughter for the shooting death of his wife, Brenda Thurman.
Let’s look at the similarities side by side.
On Tuesday’s accidental shooting, the 16-year-old said he thought the safety was on when he handed the rifle to Hernandez-Soto. This means he is claiming the rifle malfunctioned. The incident was considered an accident for that reason. Finally, the suspect admitted to shooting Hernandez-Soto, he did not deny it.
In the Thurman case, Thurman claimed he accidentally shot his wife while cleaning his gun, another possible gun malfunction. Just like the 16-year-old, Thurman did not deny shooting his wife. Both situations are similar, but there is a difference.
The 16-year-old was arrested the day of the incident, but Thurman was arrested a year after shooting his wife.
“The 16-year-old was arrested the same night because here were people inside the car that provided statements to investigators and there were witnesses in the community that provided statements to the investigators. So it was pretty early into the investigation we were able to establish probable cause for our crime,” said Spokane Police Department Officer, John O’Brien.
Having witnesses was key to the immediate arrest of the 16-year-old. Without them, police would not have had enough for probable cause.
Officer O’Brien said there are some situations that require more time.
“There are sometimes when a case is more complex. It requires more investigations, more testing and those can get drawn out over time,” said O’Brien.
In the Thurman case, Thurman was the only witness in what he claims is an accidental shooting.