Shotgun wielding bandit has police on edge
SPOKANE -- Spokane police are worried about a series of armed robberies in which the robber is using a shotgun that could accidentally go off during the holdups.
Since November it appears the same bandit has hit several convenience stores and other businesses including Empire Food on North Nevada, the Sunset Grocery and the Divines' on North Hamilton.
Police are concerned because part of this particular robber’s calling card is to rack a shotgun while pointing it at the clerk.
“He certainly could have had a shell in the chamber when he went in there and didn't have to rack it but definitely we believe he did that for intimidation purposes,” Lieutenant Dave McGovern with the Spokane Police Department’s Major Crimes unit said.
The problem is if you pump the action on a 12-gauge shotgun and your finger's inside the trigger guard it can easily go off.
“Yeah, it will go off with less pressure than you might think it would take for a shotgun to go off and it has devastating effects,” Lt. McGovern said.
No one knows that better than the family of Shadle Park High School student Matt Migaki., who was killed four years ago when a young man robbed him. The robber racked the shotgun, chambered a shell for the same attention-getting effect. As the shotgun was racked the triggered was pulled and Migaki was shot and killed.
Police worry the person behind these shotgun hold-ups may end up doing the same thing during one of his heists.
“They may not mean for the gun to go off, it may be an accidental firing of the gun but it's still going to be a murder / homicide type conviction for these people. That's what concerns us the most,” Lt. McGovern said,
Detectives believe this robber is working with a getaway driver and that accomplice should know that if someone does get killed during one of these hold ups because of the felony murder rule both the driver and the gunman will get these same punishment in court regardless of who pulls the trigger.
That sentence would include a 20-year prison term as well as a non-reducible deadly weapons enhancement.