Skip to comments.Employees foil pawn shop gunman
Posted on 08/24/2013 8:20:47 AM PDT by Deadeye Division
Employees foil pawn shop gunman
Standoff ends peacefully amid stores slew of guns
Tom Sowa And Jonathan Brunt Staff writers
A gunman ranting about Obama took over a Spokane pawn shop Friday, temporarily trapping a handful of people before armed employees took up positions at the front door and provided cover for the fleeing patrons.
No injuries were reported in the tense two-hour standoff at Double Eagle Pawn, 3030 E. Sprague Ave., which ended about 12:30 p.m. when 26-year-old Jonathan Johnson surrendered to police. Johnson is suspected of jumping over a sales counter at the pawn shop Friday morning, grabbing a shotgun and loading it, then firing as customers and employees ran for the exits.
Johnson, who lives in the Marysville, Wash., area, likely will face robbery charges, authorities said. Hes being held at Spokane County Jail.
The standoff capped a tumultuous week in Spokane, where the community continues to mourn the Wednesday night beating death of a World War II veteran, and investigators are still probing an officer-involved shooting that killed a homeless road rage suspect Thursday.
Fridays episode drew so many law enforcement officers to the scene that the Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriffs Office announced they would only respond to the highest-priority calls elsewhere in the region. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, in fact, jumped into a patrol car and began responding to calls to help out.
Their response was based on the large collection of guns inside the sprawling pawn shop and the fact that initial reports said Johnson might have hostages inside.
Double Eagle employees, however, helped free some of those who didnt make it out when Johnson began shooting.
Jim Kalez, an Airway Heights resident who was at the pawn shop to retrieve his lawn mower, said Johnson grabbed the shotgun and yelled, Call the cops. Kalez ran from the building at that point, he said.
Several Double Eagle workers left the building armed with guns and gathered on the east end of the building. They counted bodies and realized two workers were not accounted for, said Brian Wegner, a company manager who was not at the Sprague store at the time.
In addition to the two employees, two customers were still inside, including Spokane resident Justin Roberson.
The gunman, Roberson said, was ranting about a son and Obama to a female Double Eagle employee who also was trapped inside. Roberson said he hid in the television section.
Within a few minutes the three armed employees walked toward the front door of the building. One of the three, whom Wegner would not identify, entered and confronted Johnson.
He told the guy, Dont make me use this, and told him he wanted the two co-workers and store customers to leave safely, Wegner said.
Wegner said the gunman said nothing and let the group leave by the front door.
He looked straight at me, Roberson said of the gunman. I put my hands up and slowly walked out.
Johnsons brother, Dennis Johnson, said he has no idea why his brother went to the Double Eagle. Dennis Johnson said he spoke briefly with his brother by phone during the incident but didnt disclose what was said.
My brother is having some serious problems. Hes at rock bottom, Dennis Johnson said, adding that Jonathan Johnson is dealing with a severe heroin addiction.
Dennis Johnson said his younger brother has a 3-year-old son who also lives on the West Side. Jonathan Johnson is not married, he added.
Hes a good man whos very messed up by heroin. What he did, to me, its like a call for help, he said.
Police units shut down Sprague Avenue and evacuated nearby businesses.
A Spokane County Sheriffs Office SWAT team with an armored personnel carrier came to the scene but was not needed. A Washington State Patrol airplane also arrived on the scene, flying above the cordoned-off Sprague neighborhood.
Spokane police Capt. Keith Cummings said the standoff was resolved peacefully because department negotiators were able to engage Johnson by phone.
After 30 minutes of discussion, police persuaded Johnson to leave the store unarmed, Cummings said.
It was the second time this week that Spokane police hostage negotiators successfully persuaded an armed man to surrender. On Monday, police swarmed the neighborhood surrounding a home at 653 S. Arthur St., where a suspected bank robber was hiding and gave himself up.
Oh, please! They wanted to play SWAT and left the rest of the area "unprotected". What a bunch of tools!
Uh oh! A guy “ranting about obama”??
I suppose he’s a WHITE guy, huh?
1. Take our guns away
2. PAYBACK TIME!!! Huntin’ fo whitey season!
Well, his heart is in the right place, he just needs to find a better way to express his feelings.
ONE employee did the work that the police sent an entire SWAT team for.
Bet they’re angry that he did their job before they could get there and make it worse.
Fire the SWAT Team, hire this guy.
One riot, one pawn-shop employee? ;-)
Notice, they say he was ranting about Obama but they don’t say what he was saying. This implies he is a conservative and is a rascist loon wanting to hurt Bozo. For all we know he was wanting to help Bozo take over the country, or shoot some people who were against Obama.
I noticed the same thing. I can’t help but think that if it were an anti-Obama rant, the media would have provided a more detailed account. Which of these things does not appear to fit: heroin addict; Spokane, Washington; Conservative?