Police shooting investigation complete; man held gun on two people, prosecutor says – wenatcheeworld.com


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WATERVILLE — The investigation into a 2020 fatal police shooting near East Wenatchee is complete and on Friday a prosecutor said that Thomas M. Mathes III was aiming a gun at two people when he was shot by a Douglas County deputy.

Mathes, a 29-year-old Wenatchee resident, was killed April 21 by Deputy Nick English after the deputy responded to a 911 call on the 2500 block of Norma Lane, according to the North Central Washington Special Investigation Unit.

The Special Investigation Unit completed its investigation Thursday and forwarded its findings to Douglas County Prosecuting Gordon Edgar for review.

Thomas M. Mathes III

Thomas M. Mathes III

Deputy Nicholas English

Deputy Nicholas English

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

“Deputy English came upon a situation where through a window he saw one person holding a gun to two people who were on the floor facedown and so he shot through the window,” Edgar said Friday. “It’s a matter of was it necessary to take that shot based on the totality of circumstances?”

Edgar said he’ll examine whether the shooting was justified. He expects to make a decision within a month.

Authorities have not previously commented on the circumstances that led to the shooting.

Deputies were dispatched to the home between East Wenatchee and Rock Island at 11: 06 p.m. after a 911 call from a 28-year-old man who lived at the Norma Lane home, according to the Special Investigation Unit.

The caller was involved in a physical altercation with Mathes and a 33-year-old woman who lived at the home, as well, and at some point Mathes armed himself with a handgun, officials have said.

A responding deputy told RiverCom dispatchers that he saw a gun at the scene and asked for backup at 11: 16 p.m. and then reported shots fired at 11: 21 p.m., recorded scanner traffic shows. Mathes was pronounced dead at the scene.

English was placed on administrative leave following the shooting, a standard procedure. Sheriff Kevin Morris on Friday said English was back on duty a couple months later after doctors found him fit to return and after the sheriff was briefed on the circumstances of the shooting by the Special Investigation Unit.

“He made a split second decision and potentially saved lives,” Morris said.

Mathes grew up in Mesa, Arizona outside Phoenix and moved to the Wenatchee Valley around 2014, Brent Andrews, Mathes’ former stepfather, told The Wenatchee World in May 2020. Mathes had a twin brother and a younger brother. He worked at the Circle K in Wenatchee.

English was hired by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in 2017. He was recognized in 2018 and 2019 as the department’s top traffic and DUI enforcement officer. Prior to his career in law enforcement he served three years in the U.S. Army.

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