Scott Creach part two

Posted: July 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

After he prayed over his meal and I took a picture mine, Alan once again took me into the surreal and eye-opening episode that has been a part of his family’s life since 11:07 p.m. on August, 25th, 2010.
Alan started with what he felt was one of the most interesting pieces of evidence. The autopsy, he said, showed that his father’s right thumb had fine speckles of blood in a directional pattern that was a part of the spray pattern that burst out from his chest as the bullet ripped into his body.
Alan maintained this proved that his father’s right hand was in front of him, not behind his back. Forensics from the spray pattern also showed the whereabouts and angle of the officer’s weapon which was just inches away from Scott’s chest pointing down at a 56-degree angle.
Alan told me the spray pattern hit Hirzel from the waist down, revealing that Scott was on his knees not standing up as they were told from the beginning. He said they were never told anything different than the bullet came at a slightly downward angle and toward left.
Another piece of evidence came from the reenactment that the sheriff’s department conducted a year later on a night chosen to have similar weather conditions as the night of the incident. Alan was there as they parked the same car in the same spot at the same time of night and then went through the whole episode just as the officer said it happened. Sherriff’s personnel acted out both parts.
What they did not tell the family was that they also had personnel positioned at the locations of the three people who heard the shot. A neighbor who was in their house with the sheriff’s personnel during the re-enactment later told the family that they all clearly heard the orders to drop the weapon. None of the ear-witnesses heard any orders on August 25, 2010, though they were as close as 225 feet away on a calm summer night.
I finally asked Alan as he was finishing up his salad and starting in on his bbq sirloin sandwich special, what he thought had happened. He certainly did have a theory that was very different from the official story.
He felt that his father probably recognized that it was an unmarked police car as he approached. If he ever had his gun out at all, he put the gun behind him in his pants long before he got close to the cruiser so that he would not appear armed and threatening.
Alan believes his dad startled Hirzel who then jumped out of his car and struck Scott with his baton. Scott immediately dropped to his knees and put both hands out front. Exactly why Hirzel pulled the trigger, Alan is not sure. He just feels positive that it was not because his dad was pulling out his gun to shoot the officer that stood menacingly above him with the gun pointed at his bare chest.
Whether it was a moment of panic, or accidental, or temporary insanity on Hirzel’s part, Alan believes strongly that his dad’s gun had nothing to do with anything. The fear the officer said he felt for his life came from being spooked by Scott.
Alan surmises that the officer could have been unaware his father had a gun until he fell face down , revealing the gun tucked into his waistband before rolling over onto his back. He theorizes that it is possible that Hirzel was assisted by the first police officers, helping him rig the scene by rolling Scott back over, undoing his belt to pull out the gun and then place it nearby off to the right.
That would explain why Imogene was led out of view as she approached. Furthermore, Alan said the witnesses who first began coming out of their homes to see what was going on said they had seen, as Imogene had seen, the officers doing something over Scott and it was not providing medical assistance.
I had to admit that Alan’s story had gotten more interesting through the years. It took away the hard-to-fathom suggestion that Scott would refuse to drop his weapon and continue to approach an officer who was authoritatively and repeatedly commanding him to do so. Scott had not had a traffic ticket in 30 years. He had always preached that the police were “God’s hand over you.”
I could also see Scott being irritated that this officer would trespass in a dark, unmarked cruiser and then sit there like he owned the place. I can see Scott approaching and not saying a word until he was close and then maybe saying gruffly something like, “What’s going on here?” and detonating a situation that never crossed his mind would occur in the next second or two.
But I also knew that Alan’s theory was based on evidence and allegations that any opposing attorney would turn and twist to discredit the family’s version and support the police officer’s. I had heard Knezovich complain bitterly about the case not going to trial. His department and their attorneys felt the evidence supported the officer’s story and would vindicate them of any wrongdoing.
I can see that neither side could prove beyond all doubt that their version of the episode is true, but I also see that the Creach family did not have to in order to win a settlement in civil court. Laws were broken and property rights were violated by Hirzel. Had the officer not done so, Scott Creach would still be alive. I think insurance companies and jurors pay a lot of attention to things like that.
It does not matter if our law enforcement agencies have decided not to acknowledge or obey or enforce a law, it is still a law. Cruising in an unmarked car in a residential area is breaking Washington state law RCW 46.08.065. Pulling onto a person’s private property and setting up office, was a violation of Scott Creach’s property rights.
You take those actions away from the night of August 25th and you got Scott Creach waking up the next morning to live another day. It kind of seems like the Sheriff’s office just got a $2 million ticket for all those times they did not write themselves any tickets for breaking the law over and over as a matter of routine.
What Hirzel did that night happens all the time. That is why I stick with my stance in my original blog and respectfully hold Scott accountable for approaching a cop car, gun drawn or not, in the middle of the night. Either Scott did as Alan maintains and walked up to the officer peacefully or he walked up there as Hirzel maintains, defiant and deadly. Either way, Scott approached.
I would go one step further and say that even if Alan’s theory were correct, Hirzel still was not guilty of any crime when it came to shooting Scott. He mistakenly identified Scott to be the bad guy, but that can happen late at night out in the field. He made a mistake like everyone does, and while we often get away with ours, his was tragic.
As to whether or not there was any kind of a cover up, I would like to hope not. I always thought, however, that the delay in getting out Hirzel’s version looked badly at the very least. It got fishier when Alan told me that their detectives discovered that he did not leave town to go to Montana to visit family the day after the shooting as we were told. They talked to witnesses who said he was in town until he left for Vegas a few days later.
Alan’s theory is that they were buying time to see if there were any eyewitnesses. I hope that Alan’s theory is wrong and I tend to have more trust in our local law enforcement officers than to believe he is entirely right. I do, however, think Hirzel should have had his blood tested immediately just like Scott’s blood was tested and that he should have given his full story before going on vacation, just like the rest of us would have had to.
I have picked up through this episode that the sheriff’s department feels they can do what they want. If they need to prowl in an unmarked car, so be it. If they need to park and do bookwork on private property, so be it. If they want to let an officer who just shot an elderly citizen go on vacation, so be it. I agree that they have a very difficult and complicated task trying to make our community a safe place to live and they need leeway to get the job done.
But when they break laws and violate rights and a God-fearing, law-abiding citizen dies as a consequence, I believe they should own up to any missteps, correct the problems and move on. No one can learn from those highly effective educators, known as our mistakes, if we don’t first admit we made them.
It appears that is what the Sheriff’s department has failed to do. Alan said his mom would have accepted the County’s second offer of $1 million (the first was $250,000) if the county agreed to attach an apology to it. Rather than apologize, the County preferred instead to offer $2 million with a threat attached to go after the family for legal expenses if they were not awarded at least $1.7 million by a jury.
Alan said that made going to trial too big of a gamble. He said they were disappointed, not because of the amount of the settlement but because they wanted the community to hear what they had learned. He wants things to change so no one else in Spokane Valley dies like his father died.
I agreed that people should hear their side and so I had to write one more blog before putting the whole troubling affair behind me and moving on. I pray for God to give the Creach family the strength to do their best to do the same as they live out their lives, carrying Scott heavily in their hearts until that day he always preached about when they meet up before “the great judge of all the Earth” who can make the final call on this tragic affair.
Until then, I think people need learn what Scott learned too late. We cannot wait until the police do everything just right, people need to realize that all police officers need to be approached and handled with caution. They have a dangerous job and they are trained to be dangerous and the wrong move can be deadly.


To read a tribute blog I wrote a fews days after the shooting click here.
To read original blog, click here.

  1. Sharon Thomas says:

    The Spokane Sheriff department should have paid out at least 10 million dollars and admitted their wrong….that is the problem in today’s world all the high government officials can do whatever they want.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I feel both men were partly to blame but the officer handled it in an unprofessional way. As far as his statement that he told Scott to drop the gun twenty times that has to be an out and out lie. Right now say out loud….drop your gun….twenty times and see how long that takes. No officer is going to do that because it gives the perp plenty of time to shoot. Only two people know the whole truth, one is dead and the other isn’t talking. Shame on the Sheriff’s Dept. for the way they handled this. I would no longer feel safe if I lived in that community. Changes need to be made.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hirzel should be in prison for murder!

  4. Jackie says:

    Thank you for writing this very important story. The community needs to hear and know what is really going on in these incidents with our police. So many of us just assume that the police are the good guys working to protect us, and if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to fear. Some of us feel like these things only happen to other people. And what do we really know about these officers as far as their training, or who they are as people, before they are hired? In my opinion, Spokane has a dirty police force. I feel that the department needs to be reviewed and many of our cops should be taken out of the force entirely. We have grown too placed as a society. Hirzel should be in prison for murder- what degree? Only a judge and jury could say, but he should be held accountable. It takes real backbone to be a cop… they gotta be tuff, for sure! But more importantly, our police need to be honest, and compassionate … and they should have God as their guide and our respect- you can’t have one without the other. Thank you again for for sharing the truth with us.

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