De-escalation & Restraint Prevent “Suicide by Cop”


De-escalation & Restraint Prevent “Suicide by Cop”


Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a suicidal person armed with a knife that cut both his wrists, stabbed himself in the chest and demanded deputies shoot him.  Even though the adult man charged toward deputies with the knife, they successfully used tactics and OC spray to disarm and restrain him allowing medics to treat his wounds.

On April 19, 2016 at approximately 5:00 p.m., Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Corporal Jeff Thurman arrived at a residence located in the 18400 block of East Appleway and made contact with a man who was suicidal and armed with a knife.

The man was standing inside a tent with the screen zipped closed holding a 4” fixed blade knife yelling, “I want to die. Kill me!”  Corporal Thurman told the man to drop the knife and that he was there to help.  The man did not follow Corporal Thurman’s instructions and escalated the situation by raising the knife.  The male said we were “trigger happy” and continued to yell “Shoot me!” multiple times.

A few minutes later, Deputy Sciortino arrived to assist with the call.  Corporal Thurman, with his weapon drawn but pointed low, approached the screen to try and open it.  The male charged toward Corporal Thurman with the knife causing Corporal Thurman to jump back to avoid being stabbed.  The male, covered in blood, began pressing the knife back and forth on his chest and said, “The only way I’m coming out is if you kill me.”

The deputies, fearing for their safety as well as the safety of the male, continued to work together to try and end this life-threatening situation peacefully and get the male the medical help he desperately needed.  The male continued to refuse to follow instructions and began to press the knife into his chest with more force.

Fearing the male was about to stab himself in the chest in an attempt to take his own life, Deputy Sciortino moved forward and cut the screen to allow access inside.  The male charged toward Deputy Sciortino with the knife causing Corporal Thurman to raise his weapon and prepare to fire if needed to stop the male from stabbing Deputy Sciortino.  Deputy Sciortino was able to jump out of the way in time allowing Corporal Thurman to lower his weapon again.

The male suddenly yelled, “Oh yeah!” and threw the knife down on the bed inside the tent.  He grabbed a razor blade and began cutting his wrists causing him to bleed profusely from the wounds.  Deputy Sciortino sprayed OC into the tent in an attempt to quickly end this very tense situation and get the male medical attention but the man continued to cut himself as he yelled, “Shoot me! Just (expletive) shoot me!”  A few seconds later, the OC took effect and the male threw the razor blade down and agreed to exit the tent.

The man was restrained and Spokane Valley Fire personnel began to provide medical treatment.  The man escalated again as he tried to get up and began swinging at the medic yelling “Kill me!”  The deputies maintained control of the man while he was treated.  He was safely transported to a local hospital for further treatment and a medical evaluation.

Corporal Thurman and Deputy Sciortino used great restraint during this very volatile, life-threatening situation.  The man clearly wanted the deputies to shoot him and end his life but the deputies, knowing the man needed their help, placed their own lives in jeopardy to save his.  Thankfully, due to their efforts, the male’s life was saved allowing him to receive the medical attention he desperately needed.

Deputy Mark Gregory
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office
Public Information Officer

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