Sheriff wants to know why shooter was allowed out on our streets


by KREM Staff

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 20 at 9:34 PM

SPOKANE-- Charles Wallace fatally shot himself after police say he fired at two Spokane County deputies during a traffic stop.

Wallace has a rap sheet that spans more than 20 years and includes 15 felony convictions.

In a press conference Wednesday, Sheriff Knezovich said our justice system is to blame for this repeat offender being back on the street.

Charles Wallace’s criminal history dates back to 1985. His 15 felony convictions include possession of a controlled substance, assault, burglary and escape.

In 2002, police found drugs and paraphernalia inside Wallace’s home and later that year, he escaped from the Geiger Correctional Facility.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says this is an ongoing problem in Spokane; repeat offenders consistently making their way back out on the streets. “I question why this individual was allowed to be back on the streets of Spokane instead of being in jail where he should have been.”

Most recently, Wallace was arrested for heroin distribution. Federal prosecutors wanted him to stay in jail until trial, calling Wallace a serious flight risk and a danger to the community. “The U.S. Attorneys Office fought very hard to prevent Wallace from being released,” said Sheriff Knezovich.

Judge Cynthia Imbrogno denied that request, allowing Wallace to enter an in-patient treatment for chemical dependency. Imbrogno signed that order May 25. Knezovich said, “When somebody is facing those types of serious crimes and they are serious offenders, you keep them in jail, that’s the solution.”

Wallace was supposed to attend a status hearing on Monday, but never showed up. The very next day, he shot and wounded two deputies.

Sheriff Knezovich says he plans on meeting with judicial officials in the coming days to discuss what he considers a big problem with repeat offenders.

We contacted Judge Cynthia Imbrogno's office several times for comment; no one has returned our calls.