Spokane Police officer will not face charges in deadly shooting

Spokane Police officer will not face charges in deadly shooting
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The Spokane Police officer who shot and killed David M. Novak in January will not face charges.

Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell announced the findings of the investigation on Wednesday.

On January 7, a neighbor called 911 to report Novak was shooting at him and yelling racial slurs – even claiming to be a member of the KKK. That neighbor told police Novak was intoxicated.

Officer Brandon Rankin was one of several officers who responded to the scene. Officers reported hearing shots and seeing smoke when they arrived.

Police attempted to contact Novak and gave many calls for him to stand down, but he turned around to walk inside a house. Officers believed he was armed at the time and when he walked up to the door, would have had a tactical advantage over officers based on his positioning.

Rankin then fired a shot fearing his and other officers’ safety. Officers weren’t sure if he was injured, but later found him dead inside. The medical examiner said he died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

In January, Police Chief Craig Meidl said officers on scene said they observed Novak holding a long object, which they believed to be a rifle or shotgun. Police never found a gun near the scene, but did recover a baseball bat.

Novak’s family has been vocal about their disappointment with the handling of the case so far. Every seventh day of the month, the family walks up and down the sidewalk outside the Spokane County Courthouse, holding signs with Novak’s face on them. They consistently call for the police department to release the body camera video from that night.

In July, an SPD spokeswoman said the video will be released after the investigation is complete.

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