Richland Police attempt to arrest suspect believed was involved in a shooting that killed one person

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Richland Police Department releases footage of their attempt to arrest a suspect they believe was involved in a shooting that killed one person and injured two others.
Police said Michael Reep has active felony warrants and has been evading law enforcement since the homicide in Richland on Jan. 26. There is currently no probable cause for the arrest of Reep regarding the shooting. Police have probable cause for the crime of Felony Unlawful Possession of a Firearm for Reep, stemming from the homicide investigation, in addition to his other outstanding warrants.

In the evening of Feb. 1, police found Reep at a home in the 1600 block of Venus Circle in Richland.

When police were establishing containment to arrest Reep, he got into his vehicle inside the garage and drove out of the garage, hitting two unoccupied patrol cars as he backed out. Reep then backed through a neighbor's yard and recklessly fled the scene.

Police said they were unable to engage in a vehicular pursuit to arrest Reep due to the current legislation in the state of Washington.

RCW 10.16.060 Vehicle Pursuit states law enforcement may not pursue unless “there is probable cause to believe that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a violent offense or sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030."

Police said Reep’s felony warrants and the existing Probable Cause for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm do not qualify under the pursuit statue as a “violent offense.”

Because of the state legislation, Richland Police Department and their regional partners that responded to assist in the incident, had to allow Reep to flee in his vehicle. Law enforcement is still actively seeking to arrest Reep.

Reep is considered to be armed and dangerous. The public is urged not to contact him, but rather to call 911 if his whereabouts are known.

Chief Brigit Clary of the Richland Police Department notes the current legislation is difficult to standby and not act, knowing public safety will be put at risk by allowing the escape of an armed criminal. She hopes lawmakers will take notice of the unintended consequences of the Vehicle Pursuit law and make changes.

"It's made it very hard for us to bring suspects into custody for violent offenses... it hasn't risen to the level of probable cause, which is different than reasonable suspicion, without getting into the legalese on it. It's a higher bar to reach. And it's emboldened criminals," Chief Clary said." They know that they can run from the police and that we can't chase them unless we have a very specific set of circumstances. And as we've seen, we see people driving away yelling things out the window at us, waving at us as they drive away. They're very aware of the restrictions on law enforcement."

Officers said since the current legislation was enacted, they have seen skyrocketing auto theft, traffic fatalities, vehicles fleeing from law enforcement, and violent crime.

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