Deputies: 'Panhandler' points pistol at driver stopped at traffi - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Deputies: 'Panhandler' points pistol at driver stopped at traffic light

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

A panhandler is in jail after deputies say he pointed a gun at a driver stopped at a Spokane Valley traffic light.

On June 14, 2018, just before 4:00 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputies responded to the report of a  panhandler who just pointed a pistol at a victim while he was stopped at a traffic light in the 5600 block of E. Sprague. 

The victim told deputies he heard someone yelling as he was stopped in traffic at a red light.  When he finally looked over, he noticed a man pointing a pistol at his vehicle, and was trying to remove it from the holster. The victim started honking his horn hoping the driver ahead of him would move so he wouldn’t be shot but he said the driver was on the phone and apparently oblivious to the events.  He told deputies he thought he was going to be shot and without a doubt, he was in fear for his life.  

The victim told deputies that the man put the gun in his pocket and was last seen walking east on foot, pushing a shopping cart. Deputies found the panhandler, identified as 38-year-old Steven J. Kester, sitting on a short brick wall in front of a nearby bank.  Deputies noticed that Kester had a large object/bulge in his right front pants pocket ,where the victim told deputies Kester had placed the pistol. 

At gunpoint, deputies gave commands for Kester to show his hands, to not reach for anything and to get on the ground.  Kester refused to comply and began yelling “Just (expletive) kill me! Shoot me right here in the head!”  Deputies told Kester they knew he had a gun and to not reach for it.  Kester replied “(expletive) you! I am not giving you my gun, you’ll have to (expletive) kill me!”

With Kester’s hands visible, Deputy Walker and Deputy Getchell approached him from the sides.  As they took ahold of Kester’s arms, he began to physically resist and break free from their grasp. 

Both deputies struggled to gain control of Kester’s arms and hands, but he broke free and began reaching toward his waistband and pocket.  Deputy Reyes holstered his weapon and quickly joined the fight to gain control of Kester and prevent him from accessing the pistol he reportedly had.  As Kester continued to fight/resist, deputies used force/strikes to take him to the ground as they worked to keep Kester’s hands away from his pockets. 

Deputies eventually gained control of Kester and placed him in handcuffs.  They rolled him onto his side and Deputy Reyes found a Ruger LCP .380 in his pants pocket.  When Deputy Reyes secured the weapon, he observed the magazine was loaded but the chamber was empty.  The serial number of the firearm was checked and had not been reported stolen. 

Spokane Valley Fire and AMR responded to the scene to provide medical attention for Kester who continued to yell obscenities and thrash around while stating he wanted to be shot.  He was transported to the hospital and the Spokane County Jail by AMR with a Deputy inside the ambulance due to his continued aggressive/violent behavior.                     

Kester was booked for Assault 1st Degree. 

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