Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker has said for weeks that he would make a quick ruling whether to charge a deputy who shot and killed an elderly Spokane Valley pastor in August.
Talking with The Inlander on Sept. 14, Tucker said he was keenly aware of the criticism that his office is a sort of black hole where controversial issues disappear and die, and he vowed to act swiftly in deciding whether Deputy Brian Hirzel committed a crime when he shot 74-year-old Wayne Scott Creach on Aug. 25.
“I don’t want to sit on it through the election,” Tucker told The Inlander that day.
That stance has changed. Today, Tucker told us he never vowed to make a decision before the election — as the Spokesman has reported this week — and at this point he said he’s unlikely to rule on the case in the next two weeks.
“I called the Creach family this morning and said I wasn’t going to spoil a full review of the case just to get it done before the election,” Tucker, 59, said.
The case has been a central issue in the race for prosecutor. Democratic challenger Frank Malone, 67, has called on Tucker to ask an outside prosecutor to determine whether to charge Hirzel and says that, if elected, he would always request outside investigators and prosecutors to deal with deaths involving local law enforcement.