Friends think Spokane man killed by police chose death over prison



Posted on April 30, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Updated Thursday, May 1 at 9:48 AM

SPOKANE, Wash.--Friends of a Spokane murder suspect who was killed by police on Tuesday said it seemed as if he wanted to die.

Authorities identified 37-year-old Jeremy Arnold as the murder suspect that was shot by Spokane police on Tuesday when he returned to the scene of a murder. Police had pinned him as the murder suspect. Arnold burst through a police barricade as officers were on the scene of the crime. Arnold got out of his truck with what appeared to be a gun with police shot and killed him.

READ: Murder suspect Jeremy Arnold shot and killed by SPD officers

Tracy Fergerstrom, 46, was the woman found dead inside a home in the area of Jackson and Standard. Her body was what brought police to the scene. A medical examiner said Fergerstrom had multiple stab and incised wounds. She was found wrapped in a quilt in a bedroom. Fergerstrom’s family said she was dating Arnold and babysitting his 2-year-old daughter. Fergerstrom also had a child of her own, according to her family members.

GRAPHIC WARNING: Video moments after SPD shooting

Witnesses said Arnold was armed with a fake gun when he returned to the scene of the crime and was shot.

There were at least two Spokane police officers and one Major Crimes detective that were directly involved in the shooting of Arnold. It was still under investigation on Wednesday on how many authorities actually fired their weapons at Arnold. KREM 2 News was near the scene of the shooting when it happened and heard between five and eight shots be fired.

A friend close to Arnold, William Kemme, said Arnold seemed to want death.

“He was not afraid to die, he was just not afraid to die,” said Kemme.

Kemme’s girlfriend was Fergerstrom’s sister.

Fergerstrom’s sister recalled introducing the couple. The couple said Arnold had taken a violent turn for the worse in days leading up to his death. They added he had started drinking.

Kemme said Arnold told him he had to go back to jail for about 40 days for an unrelated crime. Arnold told people he was due to turn himself in and that was more than he could handle. 

“He's admitted he would never go back to prison. Ever,” said Kemme.

Friends said they were left to assume Arnold simply snapped when he murdered Fergerstrom.

Documents showed Arnold was a career criminal. Arnold’s name showed up in multiple newscasts at KREM 2 News in just a few years. 

READ: Murder suspect shot and killed by police had unusual past

Arnold was in jail in 2005 waiting for his sentencing on eleven felonies when he got a weeklong furlough to get married. He failed to return to the jail when the furlough was over.

Another time, detectives said Arnold was sleeping in a driveway in his car. Police said they showed up to check on him, thought he was armed and almost shot him.

In another incident, Arnold and his wife, Stephanie, were swimming in the Spokane River in July of 2013. They bet each other that they could swim across the river. Shortly after jumping in the water, Arnold said he watched his wife go under. Kayakers pulled her out of the water but she died days later.

Arnold was in a KREM 2 Newscast in the days leading up to his death as well. Arnold had called 911 on Thursday night to help Air One and the Pend Oreille Sheriff’s rescue team find his girlfriend and his two-year-old daughter stranded off of Horseshoe Lake. They were rescued early Friday morning.  The girlfriend at Horseshoe lake was a different girlfriend than the one found murdered in a home on Tuesday.  The two-year-old daughter belonged to his deceased wife. 

READ: Suspect killed by SPD recently praised for Horseshoe Lake rescue

Police said on Wednesday that Arnold had working surveillance equipment inside his home. Detectives were working to determine what purpose the equipment served and what Arnold was watching.