Pawn shop standoff ends, suspect in custody

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by Othello Richards & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 24 at 3:58 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Spokane Police said they have a suspect in custody after responding to a hostage situation in East Spokane.  The suspect was heavily armed, according to investigators.  There were no reports of any injuries in the standoff.

WATCH: UNCUT: Sprague standoff part 1

Police said Sprague would remain closed for some time even after the standoff had ended.

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Officers responded to reports of shots fired near East Sprague Avenue and South Fiske Street Friday morning.  The suspect was reportedly armed and may have had at least one person held hostage at the Double Eagle Pawn Shop on the 3000 block of East Sprague.

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Dennis Johnson, the brother of the suspect John Johnson, 26, told KREM 2 News the suspect called him around 10:14 a.m. Friday.  Dennis said his brother was holding someone hostage at the Double Eagle Pawn Shop, and that he was armed.  John Johnson also said he wanted Dennis to call the media to let them know.

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John Johnson is from Western Washington, according to the brother.  Dennis also claimed John is a drug addict.

After two hours, Johnson walked out of the front door and surrendered peacefully. Johnson was booked into jail for 1st degree robbery.

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Authorities said the suspect jumped over the counter after entering the pawn shop, grabbed a shotgun and started shooting around 10 a.m.  Witnesses said there were 20-30 people inside the store at the time.  Witnesses also said the suspect was "rambling" about President Obama, among other things. 

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Spokane Police Sgt. Lydia Taylor said that workers in the building had been released but it was not immediately known if the gunman was holding a customer in the building.  The suspect claimed during the standoff, however, that he did have a hostage. Taylor said nobody was hit when the man fired his weapon.

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Police shut down several blocks around E Sprague.  The SWAT Team was also called to the scene.  Hostage negotiators then made contact with the suspect. Police were concerned because the pawn shop contained numerous firearms and the subject had been armed with two firearms when people were evacuating the building.

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Police warned citizens that if they could see the Double Eagle Pawn Shop, they were too close.  There was a danger that the armed suspect could see people outside as he may have had access to the roof of the building. Police asked people in the area to stay inside.

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The Sheriff's Office and SPD also informed the public they would only be responding to in progress, priority one calls due to this hostage incident.

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This was the second dangerous incident this week that hostage negotiators had sucessfully brought to a peaceful resolution.

WATCH: UNCUT: Sprague standoff part 11

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