SPOKANE, Wash.--The Spokane Police Department released the names Tuesday afternoon of the officers involved in a shooting incident that happened on Jan. 17 at Truth Ministries. Aaron Johnson, 29, was shot by officers when he refused to drop his knife and advanced towards officers, even after being tased.
The four officers involved in the incident have more than three decades of combined experience with the Spokane Police Department and work on Patrol. Not all of the officers fired shots at Johnson.
READ: Washington State Patrol investigating SPD-involved shooting
The officers are Holton Widhalm, Michael Schneider, Christopher Conrath and Terry Preuninger.
Officer Widhalm is a 6-year SPD veteran and Field Training Officer. He received the Lifesaving Award in 2009 for his quick response and work to get a suicidal woman down from the Monroe Street Bridge. He also received the Lifesaving Award in 2011 for his quick response and work to resuscitate a person who had attempted to commit suicide. Widhalm received the Employee of the Month Award in 2011 for his work on Patrol.
Officer Schneider is a 6-year SPD veteran and a member of Tactical Team. He received commendations in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 for his prompt and professional response to a Burglary incident, his assistance during a citizen ride-along, his assistance in aiding the family of a Spokane Valley murder victim, his assistance in providing testimony in a court case, his response and teamwork in a homicide investigation and his calm and prompt response to a citizen report of a male making threats.
Officer Conrath is a 3-year SPD veteran and member of Tactical Team. He received commendations in 2010, 2011 and 2013 for his detailed report writing and assistance to the Prosecutor’s Office, his response and work to de-escalate a potentially violent citizen dispute and for his professional and compassionate response to a DUI incident involving injuries to four children.
Sergeant Preuninger is a 21-year SPD veteran and a member of the SWAT team. He received the Lifesaving Award in 2011 for his communication with and ultimate rescue of a suicidal female on the Monroe Street Bridge. He received the Medal of Merit in 2010 for his dedication to a number of SPD programs (SWAT, Reserves, Co-Ops, Workplace Violence Prevention Training, etc.).
Sergeant Preuninger has been involved in one other Officer Involved Shooting incident in 1994. That call involved a domestic violence call with a female armed with a gun. When she aimed at officers, officers fired shots. After an investigation into this incident, the use of deadly force was determined to be justified by the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office.