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

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

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

Police identified two of the suspects as Curry Pinkham and Zachary Holt. The third suspect, another man, had not been identified. Police also did not release a possible motive for the slayings.

Tribal police searched for the suspects overnight with help from other agencies, including the FBI, Border Patrol, Washington State Patrol and police and sheriff’s deputies. Authorities had urged residents to remain indoors during the search.

The search spread overnight to the town of Nespelem, a close-knit community about 20 miles from Keller.

Robin Redstar, a Colville tribal member and Nespelem resident, said she and other residents waited in their home for hours, and at one point one of the suspects was believed to be in a gully behind her house. Authorities eventually arrested a man in front of her home around 10 a.m. after he tried to enter her neighbor’s back door, Redstar said.

Her neighbor, a hunter with guns, was able to detain the man and get him to the street, where a tribal police car was waiting, Redstar said. Two of her neighbor’s friends helped get the man to the police car. She said she saw her neighbor with the suspect when she ran out to her truck.

“It was pretty quick. Corbie (the neighbor) was giving him a good speech about morals,” she said.

Tribal Reservation Shooting
In this image provided by Robin Redstar — a Colville tribal member and resident of Nespelem, Washington — police arrest a shooting suspect outside her home on Oct. 21, 2022. She said a suspect tried to enter her neighbor’s back door, but the neighbor detained him at gunpoint and turned him over to a tribal police officer who was parked in front of her house.

Robin Redstar / AP


Cody Desautel, executive director of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, wrote that schools in Nespelem and Keller would be closed Friday “due to the situation that has effected both districts tonight.”

Desautel said any displaced families were welcome at a gymnasium in nearby Coulee Dam.

School was 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 there had been “a tragedy in the Keller community” involving the loss of lives.

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

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

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