Sheriff: Key information about suspect who shot 2 deputies last year left unreported

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by WHITNEY WARD & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 14 at 7:57 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has been analyzing their actions in the days leading up to the shooting that left two deputies injured last year.

Authorities said Charles Wallace shot and wounded 2 deputies during a traffic stop then took his own life on June 19, 2012.

The Sheriff said a lot of things went right the day of the shooting but also said there were critical errors in the weeks leading up to the shooting. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said there are several fatal errors that could have prevented it from happening.

“Our job is to keep everybody safe and when we have a situation that we know isn’t safe, and it’s really out of our hands. That is frustrating,” said Sheriff Knezovich.

Several months before the shooting, the sheriff said Wallace made threats of an all out gun battle with police if they tried to re-arrest him.  That critical information did not make it into earlier incident reports. Wallace was then sentenced to go to an unsecured drug rehab, but when the judge made that sentence all the information wasn’t there.

The most critical fact that was never reported was that Wallace walked away from the drug facility. Five days later, authorities heard rumors that Wallace was back on the street.  A report shows American Behavioral Health refused to tell officers that Wallace was gone and claimed they couldn’t because of HIPAA violations.

The sheriff is now working with lawmakers to clarify the rule.

Since the shooting, the sheriff is working to improve the quality of his officer’s reports. The US Attorney’s Offices said it will start pushing for known offenders, like Wallace, to not be released from rehab.

 

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