Pursuit Suspect Assaults Two Spokane Police Officers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Pursuit Suspect Assaults Two Spokane Police Officers

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SPOKANE POLICE DEPT: Spokane Police attempted to stop and then pursued a DUI suspect in northwest Spokane. Officers deployed spike strips and implemented a PIT maneuver to stop the suspect at the 1800 block of W. 2nd.

The suspect fled on foot, and then turned and fought with officers. Two of the officers involved were assaulted and treated at a local hospital for minor injuries. The suspect was also transported to a hospital complaining of back pain from a pre-existing injury and was booked into the Spokane County Jail.

On May 21st 2012, Sgt. Kurt Vigesaa attempted to stop a possible DUI suspect at Ash and Grace. Instead of stopping as legally required, the suspect driver accelerated in an attempt to get away.

The suspect vehicle ended up going south on Ash. As the vehicle crossed the Maple Street Bridge southbound, Corporal Shane Oien was able to deploy spike strips which effectively disabled the vehicle before it entered the downtown area. Sgt Vigesaa was then able to perform a PIT maneuver, stopping the vehicle by the Rosauers parking lot at 1800 W. 2nd.

The suspect exited his vehicle, then re-entered and grabbed some items inside, and then ran westbound through the parking lot. Officer Ron Van Tassel arrived on scene and he and Sgt. Vigesaa pursued the running suspect. Just as they caught up to him, the suspect stopped and began swinging at the officers, striking them each on the head.

Sgt. Vigesaa and Officer Van Tassel, despite both being injured, were able to overpower the suspect and get him to the ground. Sgt. Tom Lee arrived on scene and saw the suspect was still violently fighting with the two officers. Sgt. Lee deployed his Taser on the suspect and the officers were then able to handcuff the suspect.

The items the suspect retrieved from his vehicle before he ran were found on the ground next him at the time of arrest. These items included a bag of methamphetamine, over $7000 in cash, and numerous gift cards.

Both Sgt. Vigesaa and Officer Van Tassel were transported by SPD Officers to a local hospital and then released after treatment for minor injuries. Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene to treat the suspect, and he was transported to a local hospital for back pain resulting from a self-described pre-existing injury. He was then later released for booking into the Spokane County Jail.

The suspect was identified as Stephen P. Link, a 46 year old male from Spokane. Link was charged with Attempt to Elude a Police Vehicle, two counts of Third Degree Assault (Law Enforcement Officer), Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, and Driving Under the Influence.

This situation illustrates, not only the dangers of police work, but how officers are trained to be able to respond from various parts of the city to work together to effectively apprehend and remove a criminal suspect from the streets of Spokane.

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