No Criminal Charges in August 2018 Police Shooting
SPOKANE COUNTY, September 26, 2018 – The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that Spokane County Deputy Sheriff Daniel Middlebos was justified in his use of lethal force against Joshua A. Martin while attempting to contact Martin following a traffic accident at 37818 N. Sherman Road, near Deer Park, Spokane County, on August 3, 2018 at approximately 4:30 PM. A witness reported that Martin was travelling north on Sherman Road in a pickup truck. Martin’s vehicle departed the roadway to the east, then veered back completely across the roadway to the west, and contacted some trees and a wire fence before coming to rest in a field. Upon exiting his truck, Martin was distressed, despondent, and held a gun to his head. Martin engaged verbally with several passersby regarding his life and how it was going downhill. Several units began to respond to the scene. Deputy Middlebos was the first law enforcement officer to arrive.
As Middlebos turned north on Sherman Road to approach the scene, he noticed several vehicles parked in various places on the roadway in front of him. As Middlebos got closer, he observed two males, one of whom was later identified by a witness as the driver of the accident vehicle (Martin) speaking together at the back of a vehicle in the roadway. Middlebos approached Martin and asked him to show Middlebos his hands and to turn around. Martin started to turn, but then stopped and turned back toward Middlebos. As Martin did so, he reached toward his right hip waistband area, drew a firearm, and raised it toward Middlebos. Middlebos shouted at Martin, “Don’t do it” several times. Martin did not comply and continued to raise the firearm. Middlebos fired three shots at Martin, two of which struck Martin in the chest. Martin went down immediately as his firearm dropped to the pavement near his right hand. Middlebos advised police radio of shots fired, requested backup, and asked for medics to “step it up.” Middlebos rendered aid to Martin until medics arrived. Martin was pronounced deceased at the scene. A fully loaded 9mm Taurus handgun was found on the pavement near Martin’s right side.
Under these circumstances, it was reasonable for Deputy Middlebos to use deadly force. There is no indication Deputy Middlebos acted out of malice or lacked a good faith belief in the correctness of his actions. Therefore, no criminal liability attaches and no criminal charges will be filed against Deputy Middlebos.