Friday, April 10, 2009

Police Impersonator Does Home Invasion, Shot Dead

Wenatchee, Washington

From the April 10, 2009 Wenatchee World:

WENATCHEE — Josh Ray always sleeps with a gun next to him.

"I just feel safer," he says.

Early Monday morning, he felt he had to use it to defend himself.

The 25-year-old Wenatchee man says he was just falling asleep on his living room couch when "my door flew open and there was a man standing there in the doorway and he said, 'Freeze, police.' "

Ray, who says he is an avid viewer of the television reality show "Cops," was not buying it.

"I kind of got real scared and I jumped in the air and put my hands up but it took me only a couple of seconds to know that this guy's not a cop," Ray said. "I know from watching that show that if police are coming to someone's house, they announce themselves before they boot the door open, not afterwards."

The next few seconds would culminate in the wounding of Ray, the death of the man at the door, Scott D. Bates, and possibly the solving of three armed robberies at Wenatchee area pharmacies. Wenatchee police say they suspect that Bates was involved with those robberies, one of which was committed with an accomplice. Wenatchee police cannot confirm what happened inside the residence before they were called.

Ray called The Wenatchee World to say that he was never convicted of three misdemeanors, a statement that was published in stories earlier this week. The only charges listed for Ray in the The Washington State Patrol's criminal data base are the new charges pending against him. After the shooting he was booked into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center on suspicion of possession of less than 40 grams of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a legend drug, Ambien, a sleep aid. No other charges are pending against him in the WSP database.

Ray said he had a pistol on the coffee table next to the couch, but when he jumped up, the movement put him closer to a semi-automatic rifle, which he grabbed. At that point, he said, Bates shouted, " 'Freeze' at least two more times and I pretty much said BS. Those were the only words I ever said to that man."

Ray said Bates then shot him in the thigh and "it hurt really bad and I immediately returned fire. I shot him eight to 10 times. I wanted to make sure I didn't get shot again because he still had the gun in his hand when he was on the ground."

Police have said Bates was shot four to five times. They note that someone involved in a shooting may think they've fired more shots than they really have.

Ray said he thinks he dialed 911 to report the incident, then he took the gun out of Bates' hand and threw it a couple of feet away. He realized Bates, who did not move after the shooting, was dead within a few minutes of the shooting.

He said the gunshots, fired about 1:30 a.m., scared off his 100-pound pit bull named Kane, so he ran outside looking for the dog. A neighbor rounded up the dog later.

Police have said they think Bates came to the Ray home at 616 Fourth St. to steal drugs, but Ray said he did not have any drugs inside his home that would be worth stealing. He admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and a bong on his coffee table.

Police, however, have said a search of the Ray residence turned up prescription narcotics in unmarked containers.

When asked why Bates came to his house, Ray said, "I have no idea."

Ray said he never met Bates but was a friend of William B. "Brett" Cooper, the East Wenatchee man suspected of supplying guns to Bates and of being outside the Ray residence during the shooting. Police have not said why they think Cooper was at the scene. Cooper was charged Thursday with supplying weapons to Bates, who could not legally own them.

Police say Bates used a sledgehammer, about three feet long, to break down Ray's door. It left a big impression on Ray.

"It was the biggest sledgehammer I'd ever seen," he said. "My door was pretty much open with one hit from this huge guy."

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