Deputy's mom comes to his aid during shooting
One of the people that played a role in last week's deputy-involved shooting was a civilian who took matters into her own hands to protect the deputy: The deputy's mother.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office allows certain civilians to ride along with their deputies in the field. Criminal justice students, judges, even family members can get a first hand look at deputies do on patrol.
However when Deputy Jeff Thurman started taking rounds on the other side of a bullet-riddled fence it was his mother who called for help.
The incident happened a few days after Christmas when Thurman's mom decided she'd brave the snow and late hours to ride along with her son on his shift. Thurman wanted his mother to know that because of good training his job is reasonably safe.
"That's why so many of our deputies have their husbands and wives ride along for that very reason," Sergeant Dave Reagan with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said. "So they are more comfortable knowing how we are equipped and how we deal with issues out in the field."
On that night Thurman was called to a Tesoro gas station on the lower South Hill where a fellow deputy had pulled over a suspicious car. The driver stayed behind the wheel but the passenger - convicted felon Jason Mann - bolted from the vehicle and ran across the top of freeway in the hopes of making his escape.
Deputy Thurman and his mom drove in his patrol car in search of Mann and then he parked his cruiser and told him mom to wait inside.
"The deputy was able to track him down and at some point the suspect opened fire on the deputy," Sgt. Reagan said.
That's when the deputy's mom went into action, grabbing the microphone and radioed in a "Shots Fired" call not knowing if her son had been hit. The woman, who is a former fire dispatcher, then unlocked her son's 12-gauge shotgun and was ready to defend her son when she realized Thurman had already done that himself. ;)
"We stress that our ride-alongs are observers, they are not to become actively involved however there's nothing that says they can't pick up that microphone and call for help," Sgt. Reagan said.
Deputy Thurman, who was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting, is expected to return to duty next week.
It's not clear how his mom feels about that.