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Feb. 5, 2023

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ATF agent involved in November 2021 gunfight in Spokane won’t be charged, prosecutors office says


SPOKANE — A federal agent who exchanged gunfire with a suspect in a gun-trafficking case at a Spokane motel in November 2021 will not face criminal charges, the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office announced Thursday.

Public agencies have yet to identify the agent, who was struck by gunfire during an undercover operation at the Motel 6 west of downtown Spokane on Nov. 5, 2021. The prosecutor’s office said the agent was conducting an operation using a “prop gun,” and that suspect Randy Holmes was seeking a weapon to commit a violent crime.

A statement from the prosecutor’s office did not identify the agent, but concluded that he “feared that he was about to be shot and killed” when he fired “in self-defense” at Holmes, who was using the name Randy James.

According to the statement, Holmes entered the agent’s vehicle, then quickly exited and pointed his gun at the agent, “angrily screaming” at him. The agent left the vehicle and gunfire was exchanged. Both men were struck and taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released.

Another man, Vincent Petrushkin, has pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in relation to the case. Petrushkin and another man, William Burns, arrived at the motel with Holmes during the gun sale and fled after the shooting. According to documents offered in support of that plea agreement, Holmes attempted to rob the agent at gunpoint of the firearm he was trying to purchase.

“Holmes then exited the vehicle and ran around the back to obtain the firearm,” the plea agreement states. “When he did so, the undercover agent exited the vehicle and told Holmes to drop the gun. Holmes then utilized the Glock Model 17 9 mm firearm to shoot at the undercover agent multiple times.”

The prosecutor’s office said in its statement that it was unclear from the evidence who fired first.

“Though it is unknown which of the two fired first, the (undercover agent) acted without malice and, based on these facts, had an objective good faith belief in the correctness of his actions and that he was acting pursuant to (state law),” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement announcing the decision Thursday.

The ATF requested the identity of the agent be protected because he was operating in an undercover role, and the prosecutor’s office agreed with that request, said Jared Webley, communications manager for Spokane County.

Holmes was indicted by a federal grand jury shortly after the shooting, facing three criminal counts of assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm during a violent crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Holmes has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to face a trial in January, according to court records.

Holmes is being held without bond in the Spokane County Jail. Petrushkin is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

Burns is also being held in the Spokane County Jail without bail. Court documents indicate he violated the terms of his pretrial release on an illegal weapons charge. He was booked into jail on Thursday.