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January 28, 2015 at 9:58 PM

Spokane Co. deputy cleared in pastor’s slaying fired over car use

The Spokesman-Review

A Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy cleared of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a Spokane Valley pastor in 2010 has been fired for improperly using county-owned vehicles.

The sheriff’s office announced the termination of Deputy Brian Hirzel on Wednesday.

Hirzel, who lives in Hayden, Idaho, was driving his patrol car to and from his home without permission, said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. “He did it multiple times,” Knezovich said. “If you’re assigned a car you have that permission. He didn’t.”

Hirzel was suspended for one shift last year for the same violation. This time Knezovich made the decision to fire him. “He’s been counseled, he’s been given formal discipline,” Knezovich said.

Hirzel has filed a grievance related to his termination. Knezovich said it could take up to nine months to resolve if arbitration is required.

Spokane County prosecutors cleared Hirzel of any wrongdoing in the August 2010 shooting of the Rev. Wayne Scott Creach, and by an internal investigation. The county paid Creach’s survivors $2 million as part of an out-of-court settlement in 2013.

Hirzel also was cleared in the shooting of despondent veteran Jed Zillmer near the Spokane Valley Mall in February.

Hirzel was previously under investigation in 2010 for failing to disclose to the Sheriff’s Office his partial ownership of an online sex toy business, which operated for a short time in 2008. But he was cleared of any rule violations because the Sheriff’s Office policy requiring disclosure of outside employment wasn’t enacted until 2009.

He was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in 2008 and previously worked as a Kootenai County Sheriff’s Deputy for three years and as a police officer in Cathedral City, California, for 13 years.

During his time in California, Hirzel was cleared of any wrongdoing in an incident where a man died after Hirzel applied a choke hold. He also shot and killed a woman’s golden retriever as she performed CPR on her husband in 1997. The woman sued and the city settled the case for $10,000.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: Jed Zillmer, Rev. Wayne Scott Creach

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