Sheriff: Deputy had an angel sitting on his shoulder - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sheriff: Deputy had an angel sitting on his shoulder

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said his deputy is "lucky to be alive" after a teen pointed a loaded sawed-off shotgun at him as he responded to a car prowling call.

"I get tired of people telling me property crimes are not violent," Knezovich said. "I think we're very lucky our deputy isn't dead today. That individual made it very clear what his intent was."

Witnesses said the teen slipped when he raised the weapon, and told deputies he just "forgot to take the safety off." The whole thing happened just off of Sullivan near E Valleyway Avenue in Spokane Valley early Monday.

The woman who initially called in the report of car prowling at her home said the whole thing has been terrifying.

"All day long I was shaking, all day," said Crystal Downes. "What if it had been me or my mom alone?"

The Sheriff said he believes her fears that she could have been hurt are valid.

"When you confront (those committing property crimes,) they turn violent," he said. "They know they aren't going to be held accountable. The system is broken, and the jails are overcrowded."

The teen who pointed the illegal firearm at the deputy also said multiple derogatory things to responding officers, according to witnesses. He is now facing multiple charges, including Attempted Murder in the 1st Degree. Other charges he's facing include Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Possession of an Unlawful Firearm.

The other suspect who was also caught car prowling at the same time and took off running has been identified as 22-year-old Ilder E. Vasquez. Vasquez is being held on warrants for Attempted Burglary in the 2nd Degree and a Washington Department of Corrections Community Custody Hold. He will be facing other charges stemming from this incident once the investigation in complete.

“Just because violence wasn’t used during a crime does not mean there isn’t a high potential for violence to happen," Knezovich also said. "These habitual offenders continue to victimize our community knowing that they will not be held accountable. We were lucky today; these “non-violent property offenders” didn’t kill our deputy, not because they didn’t try, but because he couldn’t get his gun to fire. The deputy and his family had an angel sitting on his shoulder today.”

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