2 people found dead, tribal officer shot on reservation in Washington

Authorities said Friday they arrested three suspects in the murder of two people and the shooting of a police officer after a day-long search at a tribal reservation in northeastern Washington. Colville Tribes Emergency Services said on Facebook Friday evening that a third suspect was arrested in Elmer City, one of several small communities on a rural reservation. Earlier in the day two others were arrested.

The Colville Tribal Police Department said it responded to a report of a shooting Thursday in Keller, west of Spokane. Officers found two people dead, and an officer who appeared in front of a vehicle, described as leaving the scene, was shot in the arm. He was doing well after being taken to medical care, the department said in a news release.

Police have identified the two suspects as Kari Pinkam and Zachary Holt. The third suspect, another person, has not been identified. The police have also not disclosed the probable cause of the murder.

Tribal police searched suspects overnight, with the help of the FBI, the Border Patrol, the Washington State Patrol, and other agencies including police and sheriff’s deputies. The officials had urged residents to stay indoors during the searches.

The search spread overnight in the town of Nespelm, an intimate community about 20 miles from Keller.

Colville tribal member and Nespelum resident Robin Redstar said he and other residents waited in their home for hours, and at one point one of the suspects was believed to be in an alleyway behind his house. Redstar said officers finally arrested a man in front of his house at around 10 a.m. after he tried to enter his neighbor’s back door.

Redstar said his neighbor, a hunter with a gun, was able to detain the man and drive him across the street, where a tribal police car was waiting. Two friends of his neighbor helped him get into the police car. She said she saw her neighbor with the suspect when she ran towards his truck.

“It was too early. Corby (the neighbor) was giving him a nice speech about morality,” she said.

tribal reservation shooting
In this image provided by Robin Redstar — a Colville tribal member and resident of Nespelum, Washington — police arrest a shooting suspect outside her home on October 21, 2022. She said a suspect tried to enter her neighbor’s back door, but the neighbor detained her at gunpoint and handed her over to a tribal police officer, who was standing in front of her house.

Robin Redstar / AP

Cody DeSoutel, executive director of the Confederate Tribes of the Colville Reservation, wrote that schools in Nespelm and Keller will remain closed on Friday “due to the situation that has affected both districts tonight.”

Desoutel said any displaced families are welcomed at a gymnasium at the nearby Coulee Dam.

Schools were also canceled Friday in another nearby school district, covering the small towns of Wilbur and Creston. In a message on its Instagram page, the district wrote that “a tragedy has occurred in the Keller community” in which lives have been lost.

“Right now, our hearts are heavy, and we are in support of the entire Keller community,” the message said.

The Confederate Tribes of Colville include about 9,400 descendants of a dozen Native American tribes. The reservation covers approximately 2,200 square miles west of Roosevelt Lake, a reservoir on the Columbia River behind the Grand Coulee Dam.

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