SPD uses less-lethal tools to take violent suspect into custody downtown
On 03-23-21 just before 6:30PM, SPD responded to the area of Riverside and Main regarding a possible stabbing. A distressed 911 caller stated that a male was armed with a knife, had tried to stab them, and was currently “coming at” them.
The investigation revealed that the suspect approached two strangers after over-hearing their conversation. The suspect inserted himself into the discourse, for unknown reasons quickly became incensed, and then began threatening the victims with a knife. The victims were not injured.
SPD officers quickly converged on the area and were able to locate the suspect on Howard St between Main Ave and Riverside Ave. The suspect was still armed with a knife and refused multiple directives to relinquish it.
SPD was faced with a perilous situation; moments ago the suspect had attacked a random stranger without provocation. The suspect was still armed and in the potentially congested downtown corridor. Ensuring the safety of the innocent public was responding Officers’ primary concern. Officers also wanted to maximize the chance for a peaceful resolution. With those two goals in mind, multiple SPD resources were utilized to contain the area and bring in specialty personnel and equipment. On-duty SWAT resources as well as a Hostage Negotiation Team member responded to try and negotiate a peaceful resolution.
Officers and the negotiator attempted to convince the suspect to drop the knife and surrender for approximately a half-hour. The suspect continued to act erratically and refused to put the knife down. The suspect then turned and began walking away from police. Given the extreme risk the suspect posed to the public it was determined the suspect must be promptly apprehended. Multiple less-lethal tools, including an SPD K-9, were utilized to apprehend the person.
This situation was difficult for officers to mitigate due to the uncooperative, armed suspect and the populated setting. While Officers would of preferred the person had complied and therefore force would not have been needed, the availability of less-lethal tools and advanced training meant a potentially lethal encounter was resolved with minimal injury.
The suspect was identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Casto. In addition to this incident, Casto was wanted on a Department of Corrections warrant stemming from a different felony assault situation. Casto will be booked on his warrant and the new charge of Assault 2nd Degree (additional charges are possible). Casto is an eight-time convicted felon including two previous convictions for felonious assault and two for criminal mischief with a deadly weapon. Casto told officers that he had recently used methamphetamine.
Corporal Nick Briggs| Patrol Team 13/SWAT/Master Defensive Tactics Instructor/PIO/Criminal Law instructor/Firearms Instructor |
Spokane Police Department