Spokane Police Investigate Report of Bomb on GU Campus

Spokane Police investigate the report of a bomb on the Gonzaga University campus; No bomb was located and anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

This morning, 9/25/14, just before 7:00 am, Spokane Police received a call from a male stating there was a bomb on the Gonzaga University campus. The report did not specify a location of the bomb and the call came from an off-campus location. Spokane Police officers and the SPD Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) responded to Gonzaga with Gonzaga campus security to search the campus and keep individuals in the surrounding area safe.

Washington State RCW 9.61.160 states: “It is unlawful for any person to threaten to bomb or otherwise injure any public or private school building knowing such information to be false and with intent to alarm people. A violation of this section is a class B felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine.”

The Spokane Police Department takes threats of this nature very seriously and will continue investigation into the incident. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.

Please see Gonzaga’s statement to the public regarding the incident below.

Peter Tormey, News Service Editor
September 25, 2014
For a directory of Gonzaga news releases see:
Gonzaga University News Service


SPOKANE, Washington – Gonzaga University campus buildings were cleared as safe for re-entry and use at approximately 10 a.m. this morning following a non-specific bomb threat called in to the Spokane Police Department from an off-campus phone.

Gonzaga worked closely with Spokane Police Department and its Explosives Disposal Unit in response to the threat. Gonzaga Security conducted a thorough search of all facilities and nothing suspicious was found. GU continues to work with Spokane Police Department on its investigation of the threat.

The University is now open and scheduled classes have resumed, except for the Law School, which is closed today with classes there resuming tomorrow.

Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh expressed his gratitude that no one was harmed during this incident.

SPD Safely Resolves Hours-Long Standoff with DV Suspect Armed with Knives

Spokane Police officers safely arrest Domestic Violence suspect Adam L. Frantz (29) after an hours-long standoff. The incident started this afternoon when officers from SPD’s Domestic Violence (DV) Unit contacted Frantz to arrest him for several felony Domestic Violence offenses.  Frantz opened the door of the residence armed with a knife and refused to exit.  SPD officers from the Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT), Emergency Response Unit (ERU), and Patrol responded to the location and Frantz (who at one point armed himself with three knives) was taken safely into custody.  

Today, 9/24/14, at approximately 1:00 pm, officers from the Spokane Police Domestic Violence (DV) Unit went to a home in the 5200 block of N. Belt to arrest Adam L. Frantz (29).  Officers had probable cause to arrest Frantz, for multiple Domestic Violence offenses.

When officers contacted Frantz, he opened the door armed with a knife, refused to come out of the residence peacefully, indicated he was suicidal, and referenced “suicide by cop”.  The SPD’s Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and Hostage Negotiators responded to the scene.  SPD officers negotiated with Frantz for hours, ensuring he remained in the home and did not pose a threat to the surrounding neighborhood. At one point, Frantz armed himself with three knives. N. Belt between Everett and Crown was closed as negotiators worked to bring safe resolution to the situation. Traffic was re-routed around the scene to protect the safety of the surrounding community.

At approximately 7:45 pm, officers entered the residence (with a search warrant) and safely took Frantz into custody.  He was arrested for Felony Violation of a Domestic Violence Protection Order (X2), Unlawful Imprisonment, and Felony Harassment (DV).  Additional charges are anticipated.

Frantz has an extensive criminal history with nine felony convictions including 3rd Degree Assault (X3), 1st Degree Theft, 1st Degree Trafficking in Stolen Property, and 2nd Degree Burglary.  Additionally, he has 12 Gross Misdemeanor convictions.

The Spokane Police Department’s safe apprehension of an individual with multiple, violent felony convictions demonstrates the commitment of officers to keep our community safe and bring peaceful resolution to a potentially very dangerous situation.

Spokane Police Department Continues Collaborative Reform Process with U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office

The Spokane Police Department continues to engage in the Collaborative Reform process with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).  The COPS team is currently in Spokane on a week-long site visit.

While in Spokane, the COPS team is observing Spokane Police Department operations.  The COPS team is attending in-service training sessions, participating in ride-a-longs, and meeting with officers.  The team is also meeting with community leaders and gathering additional data during this visit.  All of these activities will help inform their report and recommendations.  The COPS team will conduct an additional site visit in November.

In previous visits to Spokane, representatives from the COPS Office met with Mayor Condon, U.S. Attorney Ormsby, and the Spokane Police Department’s leadership team to discuss the progress of the project and their initial findings.

The COPS Office plans to release findings and recommendations for the Spokane Police Department in December 2014.

SPD SVU Detectives Arrest Suspect Hours After Rape was Reported

Spokane Police Special Victims Unit (SVU) detectives have arrested a suspect in connection to a rape, reported earlier this week.  Paul T. Thornton (34) was arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail on a charge of 2nd Degree Rape.  With the assistance of the victim in providing an excellent suspect description, as well as diligent investigative follow up, SVU detectives were able to bring the suspect in a stranger-to-stranger rape (Thornton) into custody within hours of the rape report.


On Thursday, 9-18-14, at approximately 2:30 am, Spokane Police received a report that a rape victim had come to a local hospital for treatment.  Officers as well as SVU detectives responded to the hospital to assist the victim and obtain information on the incident.

The victim reported that she had been raped the night before (Wednesday) by an individual she had met earlier that evening.  She reported that she was on the front porch of a north Spokane home when the suspect, Paul T. Thornton, approached the home, started talking with her and then grabbed her, pulled her into a nearby abandoned garage, and sexually assaulted her.

SPD Patrol officers quickly located a crime scene associated with the incident (an abandoned garage where the assault took place) in the 6200 block of N. Astor.  The scene was processed for evidence.

The victim was able to provide an excellent suspect description.  From the description, as well as other information and evidence regarding the incident, detectives were able to quickly identify a suspect, Paul T. Thornton.

Thornton was located yesterday afternoon, Thursday 9/18/14, in the area of Division and Joseph.  He was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Spokane County Jail for 2nd Degree Rape.

The thorough investigation and quick arrest in this incident demonstrates the Spokane Police Department and the detectives of the SVU will not tolerate criminal activity, including sexual violence, and those who commit these offenses will be quickly located and apprehended.

Teen Assault Video Did NOT Occur in Spokane

The video posted on YouTube, showing an assault between two teens with information the incident occurred in Spokane, DID NOT happen in our community.  The incident occurred in Lockport, New York and the two instigators of the assault have been charged.

This video was posted on the internet, alleging that the incident occurred in Spokane, without any verification from law enforcement.  This, in turn, caused undue community concern that this incident occurred in Spokane, when it did not. 

Assaults such as this will not be tolerated in our community.  If you come across a video such as this, with allegations that the incident occurred in our community in the future, immediately report it to Crime Check or 911 so that local law enforcement can follow up and investigate.

Thank you to those who brought this video to our attention without re-posting it on the internet, so that we could investigate and determine this did NOT occur in our community.

SPD Looks to Public to Gain Information on 8/10/14 Homicide; Crimestoppers Offers Cash Reward

Spokane Police Major Crimes detectives are looking to the public to help them gain more information, including additional information from an anonymous tipster, regarding the homicide that occurred at the Howard Johnson Motel on 8/10/2014. 

The day after the homicide, 8/11/14, Spokane Police received two anonymous messages from the same person (one at 3:43 pm and one at 3:29 pm) with information on the homicide. 

Detectives are asking this individual to contact police again via Crimestoppers (1-800-222-TIPS or www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org) and request to speak with Detective Barrington. 

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for anyone providing information leading to an arrest in this incident.  Persons with information should call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-222-TIPS, or should forward the tip via the Internet website www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.  Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is a civilian organization that promotes public safety by paying cash rewards for information that solves crimes.  It is not affiliated with law enforcement.

SPD Looks to Public to Assist in Location of Missing Vulnerable Adult

Spokane Police are looking to the public to assist in locating missing vulnerable adult Esther “Ruby” Falt (81). 

Falt was last seen this morning near the intersection of W. Spofford and W. Augusta.  Falt is described as a white female, with gray hair, approximately 5’3” tall, with a thin build.  She was last seen wearing a brown hat, white shirt and jean shorts. Falt suffers from multiple health concerns, which require consistent medical treatment (including diabetes and dementia).  Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call 911 immediately.     

*We understand the quality of the photo is poor, however this is the only photo available.

Spokane Police Expand the SWAT Team’s Mission and Re-name the Team to Reflect this Important Change

The Spokane Police Department enhances the training and response capabilities of the SWAT team to form The Emergency Response Unit.

The Spokane Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team is now the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).  The ERU will build on the tactical expertise of team members by enhancing their ability to respond to and/or rescue persons in crisis whose actions threaten their individual safety, the safety of the community, or the safety of responding officers.

All members of the ERU will receive specialized training in hostage/crisis negotiations. Team members will continue to be trained in tactical emergency medicine, with some members receiving advanced emergency medical training. Some members of the team will also receive enhanced crisis intervention training (ECIT), building on the (40) hours of basic CIT training they have already received.

Additionally, the team will receive training in rescue techniques consistent with incidents that involve individuals threatening to harm themselves, others, and/or responding officers. The team will also be equipped with the requisite equipment to ensure the safety of persons in crisis, the community, and of responding officers.

Earlier this week, and again this morning, SPD officers responded to incidents of individuals threatening to commit suicide by jumping off bridges in Spokane. Officers regularly face these life and death situations and in many cases respond by risking their personal safety to save the life of the individual threatening to harm themselves. Police officers responding to these type of critical incidents must be appropriately trained and equipped to ensure the safety of the individuals they encounter, the community’s safety, and their safety.

“I, as well as our public safety leaders are committed to continuous improvement of the public safety services we provide to our citizens.  This is a step that will undoubtedly help to save lives while protecting the safety of our first responders.” – Spokane Mayor David Condon

“All too frequently our police officers are confronting individuals who are in crisis and threatening to harm themselves, members of the community, or responding officers. It is imperative that we properly train and equip members of the Emergency Response Unit, so that they can safely resolve these incidents and minimize the risk of injury and/or death.” – Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub

ERU is one of several changes the City of Spokane has, and continues to make, to strengthen our public safety response. For example, the Spokane Fire Department has implemented Alternative Response Units (ARUs) in order to send the most appropriate response to non-emergency medical calls. Additionally, working in collaboration with the Police Department, the Fire Department created the Rescue Task Force which deploys with the Police Department in the event of an active shooter or mass causality incident to render emergency medical treatment to victims. The Task Force deployed with the Police Department in response to the tragic incident at Deaconess Hospital.

Spokane Police Officer Bob Collins Safely De-escalates a Suicidal Man and Pulls him to Safety off the Sunset Bridge.

This morning, 9/8/14, at approximately 10:00 am, Spokane Police received several reports of a man sitting on the rail of the north side of the Sunset Bridge.  Ofc. Bob Collins responded to the scene and engaged the man in conversation.  The man indicated he was suicidal and planned to jump off the bridge.  Ofc. Collins continued to talk to the man, and using verbal de-escalation techniques, was able to get close enough to him to pull him off the rail to safety.  The man was transported to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation.  Thanks to Ofc. Collins’ quick-thinking and verbal de-escalation techniques, a suicide was likely prevented.

SPD Quickly Locates and Arrests Drive by Shooting and Assault Suspect

Spokane Police quickly locate and arrest a Drive by Shooting and Assault suspect after a report of shots fired and an auto-bicyclist collision in North Spokane. 

Tonight, 9/6/2014, just after 6:00 pm, Spokane Police received a call of shots fired in the 6000 block of N. Mayfair. Additionally, officers received a report of a vehicle hitting a bicyclist at this location. Officers quickly responded to the scene however they were unable to locate a suspect or a victim. 

A short time later, officers located the victim in both of these incidents at a local hospital. It was determined the same man had been shot once in the arm and had been struck by a vehicle. The victim’s injuries are non-life-threatening.

Officers were able to develop a good description of the shooting suspect as well as the vehicle he was seen leaving the scene in. 

The suspect vehicle was located several blocks away from the initial incidents, in the 6000 block of N. Standard. Officers located the suspect, identified as Gary J. Courtney (56), at this location and took him safely into custody. 

Courtney was arrested on charges of 1st Degree Assault and Drive by Shooting.

The victim and suspect are believed to know one another and there are no outstanding suspects.