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SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police say a man was arrested after strangling the mother of his two children, but was later released.

Late Saturday (Aug. 15) evening, SPD responded to an argument at an apartment in the 4700 block of N. Altamont, but a man refused to open the door, stating he and the woman were just arguing and that she left and no police were needed. Officers saw the woman run out the back door, telling them the man was also coming out, but the man never did.

The woman told officers she and the man share two children but live in separate apartments in the unit. She told police the man forced his way into her apartment and pinned her against the wall with both hands around her neck, to the point her feet were above the floor and she couldn't breathe for 5-6 seconds.

Moments later, the victim said the suspect drug her around the home and splashed water on her until she couldn't breathe as she tried to get a drink due to her throat feeling odd. Then she said he strangled her again on the couch while threatening to kill her. 

The woman expressed fear for safety of their one-year-old child and five-year-old daughter who were inside the apartment at the time.

SPD eventually got 26-year-old Calvin Stephens out of the home with the help of his father who showed up and talked with him. After coming out Stephens held the 1-year-old, with officers believing he appeared to be using the child as a shield so police wouldn't take him into custody.

The situation was de-escalated and officers arrested Stephens without incident for second-degree assault. Neither of the children were harmed.

"Stephens was released on his own recognizance and told to stay away from the victim but no formal order was issued," SPD said.

Strangulation has been identified as one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence and sexual violence. A woman who has suffered a non-fatal strangulation incident with her intimate partner is 7 times more likely to be killed by the same person in the future than a domestic violence victim who has not been strangled, according to research reported in the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention. 

If you or someone you know has experienced strangulation, SPD implores you not to dismiss your offender’s actions and seek help before the violence escalates. Resources can be found at endtheviolencespokane.org. If you are in imminent danger, call 911.