Questions linger about 'accidental' shooting death of Brenda Thurman

Conflicting claims after Thurman death

SPOKANE, Wash. – More than a year after a Spokane Valley woman was shot and killed by her husband, KREM 2 has obtained new documents from the police case file that show conflicting opinions about a possible motive by her adult children.

Brenda Thurman’s husband, Dwayne Thurman, claims he was cleaning his wife’s gun when it went off killing her in January 2016. The official report lists the shooting as “accidental.” Among the 230+ pages released this week, was a lengthy interview with Dwanye’s step-daughter Gabrielle.

Brenda Thurman’s children, Gabrielle and Michael were both interviewed by police shortly after the shooting. They are her children from a previous relationship, before she married Dwayne.

Gabby told police she was home, upstairs, at the time of the shooting, when she heard the gunshot.

She said she came running down to see “Dwayne clutching Brenda to his chest, rocking back and forth saying ‘I’m so sorry.’” When he told Gabby the gun went off, she said she got angry, telling him “you don’t point a gun at anybody,” and then asked why he was not doing SABC.

SABC is a military term for basic first aid taught in the Air Force. Gabby was enlisted in the Air Force and came from a military family. Both Dwayne and Brenda had also served in the Army as military police officers.

Gabrielle told investigators Dwayne had not yet called 911, but did eventually while she performed CPR. According to the court documents, at that point, Brenda was still alive and “barely breathing.”

The two did not wait for an ambulance and instead rushed Brenda to the hospital themselves at speeds “up to 90 miles an hour,” according to documents.

Later at the hospital, police said Gabby indicated “Dwayne may have shot her mother on purpose.”

She said she “didn’t know for sure, but felt like he did.” She also told police her mother had confided in her that “Dwayne was making her miserable on purpose,” in hopes she would ask for a divorce. Gabby also said Brenda was making preparations to change her will and pay off debt. When police asked Gabby “if there was a reason why Dwayne would want to hurt Brenda,” documents say she answered, “he was not happy anymore,” and that this would be the “easiest way” and Dwayne stood to benefit financially.

She told investigators the couple also had a history of “some pretty bad screaming arguments.”

Her claims vary greatly from what Dwayne Thurman claimed in his initial police interview. When asked about domestic violence, he told police “never” and that he “couldn’t even remember the last time they yelled at each other.” On multiple occasions throughout the report, police said Dwayne was visibly upset, and crying uncontrollably.  

Police documents do indicate Dwayne said “both he and his wife had been having affairs” outside of their marriage and that “after 18 years, they do separate things.”

Brenda’s adult son Michael told police the couple had a good relationship and he was unaware of any domestic violence. He said he had “no reason whatsoever to think his mother’s shooting was intentional.” However, since the shooting, both Gabby and Michael have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dwayne, claiming negligence for pointing a gun at his wife’s chest, and that he never tried to save her by immediately calling 911 or performing CPR.

Brenda Thurman’s death was ruled an accidental gunshot, and Dwayne Thurman has been charged with first degree manslaughter.

Authorities told KREM 2 they have not uncovered any evidence that the shooting was intentional or premeditated.

Thurman’s trial is set for October. His attorney said what happened is nothing more than a tragic accident.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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