Man who made multiple violent threats, sparking Alert Spokane phone notification, arrested in manhunt

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Spokane police arrested late Monday a man accused of making violent threats in multiple locations and calling 911 numerous times threatening to kill police.

Officers deployed dozens of officers, dogs and an armored vehicle to search for the man who reportedly wielded a gun at the STA Plaza.

The same man, Matteaw Ryan Smith, also reportedly pointed a gun through a window of a person’s home on the lower South Hill, police Sgt. Tom Lee told reporters near 10th Avenue and Maple Street, one of several intersections that were blockaded during the manhunt.

“We have SWAT officers and canine teams searching the area in groups,” Lee said before Smith’s arrest. “They’re searching every street, alley and backyard we can to try to find this guy.”

Shortly after 9 p.m., a team of officers could be seen walking along Seventh Avenue near the freeway bridge at Inland Empire Way, shining flashlights into a stand of trees, followed closely by the police department’s Lenco BearCat armored vehicle.

Lee said the initial search began around 4 p.m. when the man, who is well-known to transit officers at the downtown STA Plaza, displayed a real-looking gun and began making threats.

“I don’t know what led to it, but he threatened to kill people working for Spokane Transit, and was seen having a gun,” Lee said.

About 6 p.m., 911 began receiving calls from a man police believe to be Smith, warning police that he planned to klll law enforcement officers, Spokane police said in a news release.

As police began to look for the man, he was seen several times in the area near 10th and Cannon Street, walking along trails and railroad tracks, but he was not captured, Lee said.

“At one point we gave up tracking him because he seemed to have left the area,” he said. “Then we got another call from a citizen living in the area, saying that a man matching the description pointed a gun in their window and made threats.”

Lee said “reverse 911” calls from the Alert Spokane system were sent to residents across a wide swath of southwest Spokane – from the Spokane River south to 29th Avenue, and from Bernard Street west to the city limits – urging people to stay in their homes and report any suspicious activity.

Smith was located and arrested just before 11 p.m. without incident at Ash Street and Seventh Avenue. He was armed with a firearm and several knives, police said.


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