Crime

It ended with police shooting a woman near Pasco. It started with stolen guns in Waitsburg

Watch how officers are trained for high speed chases

Kevin Butler with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy's police pursuit training class demonstrates how police officers train to drive when responding to a call or during a pursuit.
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Kevin Butler with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy's police pursuit training class demonstrates how police officers train to drive when responding to a call or during a pursuit.

What started as a burglary at a Waitsburg home turned into the three-county chase that ended when officers shot a woman waving a gun near Pasco.

Amanda Warren, 38, remains hospitalized after being wounded Saturday when three officers opened fire on her in a locked car in Burbank.

No new information has been released about the Walla Walla woman’s current condition or if she was transferred. But her wounds were not life threatening, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Court documents give more details about what led to the “extraordinarily dangerous” chase involving at least five law enforcement agencies that converged on Burbank.

Interrupted burglary

The trouble started about 1 p.m. Saturday when a man and his father saw a white Prius parked on the lawn of a Waitsburg home they were buying.

The men knocked on the front door and no one answered, so they walked around to the back door.

When they stepped inside, they realized the house had been broken into and they feared the burglars were still there, according to court records. They left quickly and called the owner who called authorities.

When Walla Walla County deputies got there, the Prius was gone. Inside, they discovered a gun room was broken into and empty handgun boxes were on the floor.

They also learned the Prius had been reported stolen that morning from College Place, near Walla Walla.

Three-county chase

Walla Walla County Deputy Benjamin Olson later spotted a white Prius on Highway 12.

He followed it to Dixie, a small community northeast of Walla Walla, where he saw a woman, later identified as Cheyanne Weems, 29, climb out, court documents show.

Warren then pulled away and Olson followed. That’s when she sped up, said investigators.

When she reached 70 mph, Olson turned on his lights and siren. Instead of stopping, Warren hit the accelerator, topping 100 mph as she pulled into Waitsburg, show court documents.

The deputy backed off, ending the chase out of concern she would endanger others, investigators said.

Snake River bridge standoff

As she sped west on Highway 124, Columbia County deputies were joined by Walla Walla County deputies, the Washington State Patrol and state Fish and Wildlife officers.

They tried using spike strips to flatten her tires in Burbank, but Warren kept going, caused a crash between other cars on the overpass at Highway 12 and Highway 124.

Burbank.PNG
The chase and officer-involved shooting ended around 3 p.m. Saturday on Highway 12 near the Snake River bridge in Burbank, just east of Pasco. Google Maps

When she crossed into Franklin County, Pasco officers and Franklin County deputies also joined the effort to stop her with more spike strips.

But Warren quickly turned around, driving in the oncoming lanes of Highway 12 back to Burbank in Walla Walla County.

Finally, officers were able to force the Prius into a spin and stop.

Investigators say Warren brandished a gun, and WSP Troopers James Stairet and Cody Mueller and Franklin County sheriff’s Sgt. Marcus Connor opened fire, hitting her several times.

It’s unclear if she pointed the gun at officers through a closed or open window.

Despite being wounded, Warren stayed in the locked car until the WSP’s SWAT team arrived and pulled her out about 4:30 p.m., and she was taken to the hospital, according to the documents.

The Tri-City Special Investigations Unit is investigating whether police were justified in shooting her.

The team, made up of officers from area police agencies, investigates officer-related shootings.

Anyone with information about the chase is asked to call Pasco Sgt. Bill Parramore at 509-545-3412.

Criminal history

Back in Dixie, deputies went to Weem’s home. When a deputy started talking to her, she ran inside, court documents show.

But deputies convinced her to come outside, and after a brief struggle she was arrested.

She is accused of taking a car without permission, possessing stolen property and obstructing an officer.

Warren is charged in Walla Walla County with residential burglary, possession of a stolen car and trying to elude police.

Both woman have been in trouble before, online court records show.

Weems’ most recent conviction in Washington was 13 years ago while she was still a teen.

And Warren served time in prison in Washington after a series of Walla Walla County break-ins and thefts in 2008 that involved 17 victims. She was sentenced to eight years.

She has a similar criminal history in Oregon, with convictions for identity theft, forgery and burglary.

Even before last weekend’s chase, the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office was looking for Warren in connection to a July burglary.

She allegedly asked to clean a Milton-Freewater man’s home and then stole his wallet and two guns, say investigators.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.
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