But it was almost a full five days before he was identified as the shooter and it was made public only after questions were raised about why officials were slow to provide details of the fatal encounter.
If ever there were a lose-lose choice for Prosecutor Steve Tucker, it is deciding the fate of Brian Hirzel, the deputy who shot and killed an elderly Spokane Valley pastor in August.
If Tucker charges Hirzel with a crime, he risks losing the support of cops and law-and-order types right before the election. If he rules Hirzel did nothing wrong in shooting 74-year-old Wayne Scott Creach, Tucker may add to suspicions that he's too cozy with police and won't hold them accountable.
These are all sideshows, Alan Creach says, and they distract from his family’s central question: What happened to our dad?
“I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask this family to sit around and wait until Tucker rules,” he says. “I don’t think it’s fair to ask the [Otto] Zehm family to sit around and wait until Tucker rules. Because Tucker hasn’t ruled yet.”
Because the deputy involved, Brian Hirzel (pictured), had indicated he feared for his life before shooting Wayne Scott Creach, and because there were no other witnesses to the shooting, Tucker had said in recent interviews that he had few options when considering charges. In a press release issued earlier today, he cited the state's criminal code: “A public officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable.”Tucker broke the news personally to a devastated Creach family.
Investigators say Zillmer armed himself with multiple weapons and donned a ballistic vest amid a pursuit to Coeur d'Alene and back to Spokane Valley on Feb. 11. Once stopped by authorities, Zillmer allegedly made a threatening move with a firearm and was killed by deputy fire, officials say.