Gun Used to Shoot Spokane Deputies Last Summer Was Stolen - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gun Used To Shoot Spokane Deputies Last Summer Was Stolen From Trooper

SPOKANE, Wash. - A KHQ special investigation found that the gun used by convicted felon Charles Wallace to shoot and nearly kill two Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies last summer was stolen from a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper.

Sergeant Robert Nixon, an 11-year veteran of the Utah Highway Patrol, said his Glock 22 .40 caliber duty weapon, was stolen from his car in September 2011. Nine months later, Wallace, 41, used Nixon's gun in a shooting that nearly took the lives of Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies Matt Spink, 45, and Mike Northway, 42..

On June 19, 2012 a routine traffic stop near Elm and Newport Highway in north Spokane turned into anything but when Wallace got out of the car and started firing as the deputies approached the car. Wallace fired 10 rounds in 10 seconds. Deputy Matt Spink was shot once in the leg. However, Deputy Mike Northway took four bullets - one in each arm and leg. The most serious injury was to the artery in his left arm, where a three-inch section was blown away.

Wallace then led law enforcement on a high-speed chase through north Spokane County and into Deer Park, where he ultimately turned the gun on himself. It was an attack so rare, the last time a Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy had been shot was in 1974.

"In my head, one of my worst fears was another officer to get shot with that gun," Sgt. Nixon said. "So obviously, that's one of my first fears come true."

Back in September of 2011, Nixon was visiting family in Liberty Lake. He explained to KHQ that he locked up his gun in his rental car for safe-keeping. "Between the two families, we have six children in the house and I didn't want to have a gun in the house," Nixon explained.

However, when Nixon went to leave the home, he noticed a thief had broken into his rental and stole his gun.

"I was sick. I was sick to my stomach about it," Nixon said.

No one knows who stole the gun from Sgt. Nixon's car so how it ended up in Wallace's hands is a mystery. But no matter how Wallace retrieved the weapon, as a convicted felon and career criminal, he was not legally allowed to have a gun.

"To find out that (the gun) was used against one of our own - it was indescribable," said Spokane Police Spokesperson, Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

For Officer DeRuwe, the trail of the gun is less worrisome than the fact that they're ending up in the hands of convicted felons. It's a troubling trend, she said, is on the rise. DeRuwe could not immediately provide the number of stolen guns in our community but she did say, that according to crime stats, there were six gun-related homicides in 2012.

"Through my experience, and my tenure as a police officer, more and more guns are out on the streets. More and more bad guys have guns," she said. "And more often than not, they're armed illegally."

Through a public records request, KHQ found Spokane P.D. recovered 812 guns used in crimes since 2010. Hundreds of pages show cops busted criminals for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm; In other words, criminals were busted for having guns they should not have had in their possession.

In the business of gun trafficking, research shows firearms often move from legal manufacture to dealers to criminals. Once on the streets, guns are often traded between criminals. The guns can trade hands for a variety of reasons including when gun dealers sell illegally, when "straw purchasers" buy guns on behalf of criminals, or when crooks swipe firearms in property crimes.

"Where there's a will, there's a way with these criminals," DeRuwe said. "It does serve as a reminder to our community that guns are out there and they're in Spokane and we can't look the other way."

And they aren't. After a stolen gun landed in a felon's hands and led to a violent crime, police are adamant they're looking at every way to ensure firearms don't fall into the wrong hands.

"So what do you do?" DeRuwe said. "That is a thing discussed on a continuing basis. Chief Straub has made it very clear - we are going to reduce violent crime. We need to become the safest city of our size."

Officers said Walllace's case serves as very important reminder for gun owners to safely store their firearms.

As for Sgt. Nixon, KHQ found there was no fallout from his department for the stolen gun since he reported the gun stolen right away to both local authorities and the Utah Highway Patrol. Nixon's firearm has since been returned to him.

Nixon also told KHQ that he rests much easier knowing that the two deputies survived and said he plans on reaching out to them to offer his support.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Grant Co. Sheriff's Office: At least 3 dead, 8 injured in mass casualty crash south of George

    Thursday, May 25 2017 6:20 PM EDT2017-05-25 22:20:15 GMT

    GEORGE, Wash. - At least three people are dead in a mass casualty crash in Grant County and at least 8 other people are injured, some seriously. The crash happened around 5am Thursday morning at Adams Rd. South and Frenchman Hills Rd. which is just S. of Quincy and W. of Vantage, WA. Adams Road South will be closed at that intersection for most of the day.

    >>

    GEORGE, Wash. - At least three people are dead in a mass casualty crash in Grant County and at least 8 other people are injured, some seriously. The crash happened around 5am Thursday morning at Adams Rd. South and Frenchman Hills Rd. which is just S. of Quincy and W. of Vantage, WA. Adams Road South will be closed at that intersection for most of the day.

    >>
  • PHOTOS: 4.5 mile beer pipeline to deliver 400,000 liters of beer

    PHOTOS: 4.5 mile beer pipeline to deliver 400,000 liters of beer

    Thursday, May 25 2017 2:27 PM EDT2017-05-25 18:27:48 GMT

    KHQ.COM - We've heard of oil pipelines... but beer pipelines? Some metal music fans preparing for the "Wacken Open Air Festival," which happens to be the largest metal music festival in the world, are giving us an insiders look at just exactly what a beer pipeline looks like, how it's made and how it works. Festival organizers are installing an underground, 4.3 mile long pipeline to deliver approximately 400,000 liters of beer.

    >>

    KHQ.COM - We've heard of oil pipelines... but beer pipelines? Some metal music fans preparing for the "Wacken Open Air Festival," which happens to be the largest metal music festival in the world, are giving us an insiders look at just exactly what a beer pipeline looks like, how it's made and how it works. Festival organizers are installing an underground, 4.3 mile long pipeline to deliver approximately 400,000 liters of beer.

    >>
  • Wet spring brings black flies out in force in the Inland Northwest

    Wet spring brings black flies out in force in the Inland Northwest

    Thursday, May 25 2017 2:20 AM EDT2017-05-25 06:20:21 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Nothing beats being outside in this great weather right now, but this wet spring has brought a lot of pests. We’ve been talking about wasps and ticks, but black flies are coming out in force too. Jenny Zhang says she’s noticed black flies a lot more in her neighborhood. Her 2-year-old son Liam was bitten.  “Actually, when he got bit he thought it was a bumblebee and then he was afraid of them,” she says. The bites 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Nothing beats being outside in this great weather right now, but this wet spring has brought a lot of pests. We’ve been talking about wasps and ticks, but black flies are coming out in force too. Jenny Zhang says she’s noticed black flies a lot more in her neighborhood. Her 2-year-old son Liam was bitten.  “Actually, when he got bit he thought it was a bumblebee and then he was afraid of them,” she says. The bites 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • 2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway

    2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway

    Thursday, May 25 2017 8:04 PM EDT2017-05-26 00:04:42 GMT
    2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway

    WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - The bodies of a man and woman have been found in a pickup truck near a Washington highway. KCPQ-TV reported Wednesday that the Chelan County Sheriff's Office says it appears someone had been trying to conceal the vehicle. The deputy who went to the call had said someone attempted to conceal the truck with a blanket, duct tape and natural vegetation from the area. The bodies had been in the driver's seat and front passe...

    >>

    WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - The bodies of a man and woman have been found in a pickup truck near a Washington highway. KCPQ-TV reported Wednesday that the Chelan County Sheriff's Office says it appears someone had been trying to conceal the vehicle. The deputy who went to the call had said someone attempted to conceal the truck with a blanket, duct tape and natural vegetation from the area. The bodies had been in the driver's seat and front passe...

    >>
  • New Spokane fire chief making response times top priority

    New Spokane fire chief making response times top priority

    Thursday, May 25 2017 7:01 PM EDT2017-05-25 23:01:22 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - When you're in trouble and every second counts - will help reach you in time?  In Spokane, the distance of just a few blocks can double the amount of minutes it takes for first responders to arrive.  But Wednesday, there's a new fire chief in town and he's making response times one of his top priorities.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - When you're in trouble and every second counts - will help reach you in time?  In Spokane, the distance of just a few blocks can double the amount of minutes it takes for first responders to arrive.  But Wednesday, there's a new fire chief in town and he's making response times one of his top priorities.

    >>
  • Cops put parking lot crack cocaine in 'lost and found'

    Cops put parking lot crack cocaine in 'lost and found'

    Thursday, May 25 2017 6:51 PM EDT2017-05-25 22:51:34 GMT

    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - Police in northeastern Pennsylvania say they've put about $1,600 worth of crack cocaine in their "lost and found box" in hopes of reuniting the drug with its rightful owner.  The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens' Voice reports the drug was found in the parking lot of a shopping center outside Wilkes-Barre (WILKS'-ba-ree). Wilkes-Barre Township police posted about the find on the department's Facebook page. In a post headlined "FOUND ...

    >>

    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - Police in northeastern Pennsylvania say they've put about $1,600 worth of crack cocaine in their "lost and found box" in hopes of reuniting the drug with its rightful owner.  The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens' Voice reports the drug was found in the parking lot of a shopping center outside Wilkes-Barre (WILKS'-ba-ree). Wilkes-Barre Township police posted about the find on the department's Facebook page. In a post headlined "FOUND ...

    >>