Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker announced late last week he will not file criminal charges against Deputy Brian Hirzel, who shot and killed Pastor Wayne Scott Creach on his Plant Farm property on Aug. 25, 2010.
According to Tucker, the investigation conducted by the Spokane Police Department and Washington State Patrol was thoroughly reviewed by Jack Driscoll, Larry Steinmetz and Ed Hay.
“(They) have more than 70 years of experience in criminal cases,” Tucker said in a prepared statement. “As a result of the evidence, investigation and their review, it was determined that the facts of the case do not warrant filing criminal charges against Deputy Hirzel.”
Tucker further stated that justifiable homicide or the use of deadly force by law enforcement is outlined in the Washington State Criminal Code: “A public officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable pursuant to this section (WCC 9A.16.040(3)).”
Tucker met with Creach family members Friday morning to give them a copy of the report and discussed the results of the investigation.
Hirzel told investigators he was in the neighborhood of 14200 E. Fourth on the night of Aug. 25, responding to a request from a neighbor earlier in the day to conduct a prowl check He backed his unmarked car into the gravel lot and was working on a computer when Creach approached, with a firearm in his hand, from about 30 feet.
Hirzel said he identified himself as a police officer. After initially refusing commands to drop the gun, Creach is as alleged to have backed up and put the gun in his waistband. When Creach refused commands to drop to the ground, Hirzel said he struck the 74-year-old in the knee with a baton. That’s when Hirzel said he saw him reach for the gun.
Hirzel fired a single shot to the chest, and Creach died at the scene.
The case was submitted to Tucker’s office in September. Tucker was re-elected to the office in November.