SPOKANE, Wash. -- With tattoos covering his face and neck, 29-year-old Louis Hanson leaves little doubt about where his loyalties lie. He's a long-time gang member with an extensive criminal history who is now behind bars for second degree murder.
Spokane police believe Hanson, who also goes by Louis Montoya, shot and killed Aaron Cummings, 27, in a gang-motivated shooting Sunday, December 30 at a home in north Spokane.
Police arrested Hanson Wednesday night, just hours after releasing his name and picture to the public. In his first court appearance Thursday, A Spokane County District Court judge ordered Hanson's bond to be set at $1 million.
Although Hanson initially agreed to an interview with KHQ Local News Reporter Chelsea Kopta on Thursday, Hanson had a change of heart once he saw the camera.
Newly released court documents reveal what Hanson will not. On Sunday night, Hanson went to a home on the 1600 block of N. Wall Street in Spokane where several women were hanging out with plans to go out for a night on the town. They were with their friend Aaron Cummings.
Shortly after entering the home, documents state, Hanson asked Cummings if he was a member of a rival gang. Cummings replied "yes."
Hanson immediately jumped on Cummings and punched him several times in the head, the documents state. Cummings tried to slide away but moments later, one woman saw Hanson pull a revolver from his pants, aim the gun at arm's length, and fired at Cummings in the stomach. Another witness saw Cummings spitting up blood and holding his stomach.
According to documents, Hanson then fled the scene while Cummings stumbled to the kitchen and collapsed. He died before medics arrived.
Once police arrived and began investigating, the women inside the home lied to police about the identity of the shooter because they were afraid for their lives, court records state. Even though they knew the suspected gunman to be Hanson, they told investigators it was gang member Salvador Rivera-Romero instead.
Within a matter of days, however, several of the women came forward to police to tell the truth. They positively identified Hanson as the shooter. Police quickly switched gears and focused their attention on Hanson.
Spokane Police Lieutenant Mark Griffiths said the women "told us they were very afraid of the suspect, Mr.. Hanson, and that's why they told us it was someone else. From there, we were able put Mr. Hanson on the news."
That location turned out to an apartment at 1923 W. 2nd in Browne's Addition. Police found Hanson hiding out with his girlfriend, 22-year-old Amanda Tudesque, and her three children all under the age of six. Court records show Tudesque tried to throw police off of Hanson's tracks by denying that she recognized him, pushing, and shoving officers.
"More than just lying to us, she physically interfered and tried to help him escape as he left the apartment," Sgt. Griffiths added.
Hanson eventually came out of his girlfriend's apartment but did not immediately comply with police commands.
"He initially would not come out to us," Griffiths said. "We had a bit of a standoff at the door trying to get him into custody."
This violent crime between rival gang members could have a simple motive. Sergeant Dan Ervin, with the Spokane Police gang unit, believes gang violence is often about demanding respect.
"Respect commonly equals fear and so as a gang member, if you fear me, then you respect me," Ervin said. "And fear also equals power."
Tedesque now faces charges of first degree rendering criminal assistance for harboring and concealing Hanson as well as attempting to prevent police from arresting him.
Police said none of the other witnesses involved will be charged because they were afraid. As for the original suspect, Rivera-Romero, investigators said he is no longer wanted by police.
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