Wanted Domestic Violence Suspect Captured after Pursuit
An armed suspect, wanted due to an earlier incident where he violated a domestic violence protection order, broke into the victim’s home armed with a knife and stabbed a refrigerator and later fled from Deputies in his vehicle while towing a 22-foot camper. The suspect, who told the victim he was also armed with a pistol, was taken into custody after a pursuit which ended back in front of the victim’s residence.
On March 29, 2018, at approximately 4:25 a.m., Spokane Valley Deputy Scott McKenney responded to a call of a domestic violence order of protection violation (DVOPV) at a residence located in the 7900 block of E. Indiana.
While en route, Deputy McKenney confirmed there was a valid protection order against the suspect.
The victim stated she was in bed and heard a loud noise inside her home. Thinking the suspect, identified as 49-year-old James M. Dennis Jr., was breaking in, she armed herself with a gun and began to investigate and found Dennis standing in her kitchen. She observed him pull a knife from his pocket and stab the refrigerator. She pointed the pistol at Dennis and he stated he had a pistol and pointed toward the inside of his jacket. She told Dennis to leave and he walked out the front door.
Deputies checked the area but were unable to locate Dennis or his vehicle.
At approximately 6:25 a.m., Deputy Spenser Rassier located Dennis driving a GMC pickup towing a 22-foot camper on Trent near University. Knowing of the previous incident, Deputy Rassier initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle near Trent and Stegner. Once stopped, and knowing Dennis was armed, possibly with a handgun, Deputy Rassier ordered Dennis to keep his hands out the window. Dennis ignored the commands and started digging around inside the cab of the truck. Deputy Rassier called for immediate backup, told Dennis he was under arrest, and again ordered him to show his hands. Dennis put one hand out the window and yelled an expletive at the Deputy.
Before additional units could arrive, Dennis drove away, eastbound on Trent and into the westbound lanes of travel. While Deputy Rassier advised he was in pursuit, with his lights and siren activated, Dennis swerved back over into the correct lane of travel. Dennis turned behind a business on the northwest corner of Trent and Pines then pulled back onto Trent. A short distance later, he turned north from Trent onto a dirt road, made his way to the Centennial Trail and turned west. The trailer being towed rocked back on forth, but Dennis maintained control as he continued to flee. At the footbridge crossing the river, the trailer come loose and blocked the path of the pursuing Deputies. Dennis crossed and turned west on the trail.
Monitoring the pursuit and attempting to anticipate Dennis’ possible escape route, Deputy Rick Johnson drove to the area of Argonne and Maringo. On Maringo, Dennis drove past him and turned south on Argonne as Deputy Johnson quickly turned around. When Deputy Johnson turned south on Argonne, he couldn’t see Dennis but heard another patrol unit advise of Dennis’ location.
The pursuit continued as Dennis made his way south on Vista to Indiana and turned west. As he approached the victim’s residence, Dennis slid to a stop and jumped out of the vehicle, went into a squatted position and raised his hands over his head in the front yard of the residence. Several Deputies gave multiple commands for Dennis to lie down on the ground, which he ignored. Dennis was pushed to the ground and after a short struggle, Dennis was handcuffed.
Dennis, who already has a prior conviction for a DVOPV, was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for domestic violence charges of Burglary 1st Degree, two counts of Violation of an Order, and Malicious Mischief 3rd Degree. He was also charged with Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle and Resisting Arrest.
This investigation is still active and additional charges could be added depending on any additional information learned or evidence recovered.
Deputy Mark Gregory
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office
Spokane Valley Police Department
Public Information Officer