SPD receives hundreds of tips on homicide, discourages racial profiling


by Ashley Korslien, Katie Utehs & KREM.com


Posted on May 9, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 9 at 6:10 PM

SPOKANE-- Major Crimes Detectives are continuing their investigation into the Sharlotte McGill murder. Nearly a week has passed since McGill's death and detectives continue to evaluate each tip received.

Major Craig Meidl says the police department is making headway and the investigation is still full force.

Spokane Police Department officials said the level of community concern has increased dramatically.  Because of the limited description of the suspect, citizens have been simply reporting people they see acting suspiciously who meet the general description.

Sharlotte McGill gave a vague description of a black man in his 30's who has a bad eye as her attacker.

Hundreds of calls are pouring in from people claiming to have seen a black man that could be the suspect. Police say many of these reports don't even fit the description, and are worried people might be racial profiling.

Tuesday afternoon people reported seeing a black man similar to the description near snap's headquarters. Since it's near the Spokane Falls Community College, Campus Security sent out an alert. The alert let students know what was happening and shared safety options. Police looked into the potential suspect sighting.

Investigators are encouraging the community to call in tips; they just don't want to see vigilantieism.

The Police Department said they must strike a critical balance, protecting the rights of innocent people with the need to locate a single man suspected of murder. 

Major Craig Meidl with the Spokane Police Department said, “We are doing our best to be mindful of the fact that there is one black male out there among thousands of black males. So we are very mindful and insensitive to their feelings as well at feeling targeted, yet still trying to be pro-active and finding out who the suspect is.”

Police strongly believe it will be a member of the public who helps crack the case.

The crime analysis unit is compiling a list of men who match the description, those individuals are being questioned.

In a press release SPD said they would like to caution citizens from approaching anyone they believe may be the homicide suspect; instead, SPD encourages citizens to contact 911 immediately.  Officers will screen each call and respond appropriately.  Meanwhile, a Major Crimes detective has been assigned to review every single tip received in this case, and proceed accordingly.