‘He belongs locked up like the animal he is’: Murdered athlete’s family fights for justice, calls for increased charges

SPOKANE, Wash. — The suspected murderer of a Spokane father and highly decorated athlete was in court today, facing second-degree murder charges. The victim’s family is fighting for a more severe punishment.

Jakobe Ford lost his life on Saturday night outside Lucky’s Bar. Michael Le is the suspected shooter. This wasn’t their first interaction. The two knew each other and had fought in the past. Police say Le started taking photos of Ford, and the two went outside. That’s when witnesses say they heard multiple gunshots go off, and Ford couldn’t be saved.

“It’s senseless. It’s crazy, and it doesn’t make any sense,” said Robi Rae Riggin, Jakobe’s mother. She was in court today and faced her son’s killer who was behind bars. She pleaded with the judge to not let him out on bond which was set for $1 million dollars.

“You took my son’s life. Why do you deserve to be out on your own reconnaissance?” she asked.

Le was facing assault and harassment charges from back in February against Ford. Le had a child with the woman who Ford was dating at the time, and the two had an altercation. The police then ordered Le to surrender all his weapons, but he still had a gun on that fateful night.

“Second degree murder, no way. It’s first degree murder,” his mom said. “It’s pre-meditated. He knew what he was doing , and he had been threatening for weeks.”

A memorial lines the street where Ford lost his life, and Riggin’s says she’ll be at every appearance, fighting for the justice her only baby boy deserves.

“He should’ve been in the Olympics instead of on the street that night,” she said.

Ford had just signed a professional track deal and was getting ready to celebrate his son’s third birthday.

“He belongs right there locked up like the animal that he is,” one of Ford’s family members said about the suspected shooter.

PAST COVERAGE: ‘It doesn’t seem real’: Local athlete shot and killed, community mourns his loss

PAST COVERAGE: Friends and family identify man killed in downtown Spokane shooting