Trending Topics

Prosecutor asks for 65-year prison sentence for ‘exceptional crimes’ in shooting that injured Wash. officer

Two gang members were said to be “lying in wait” to target police in an attempt to gain street credit for their gangs


Court records say the childhood friends and members of different gangs targeted two northeast Spokane homes in drive-by shootings on June 26, 2022. Police responded to the shootings and were then targeted.

Photo/Washington Department of Corrections

By Garrett Cabeza
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Preston McCollam helped 23-year-old Ray Wynecoop with his neck tie before asking a judge Friday to sentence him to 65 years in prison for a series of drive-by shootings that wounded a Spokane police officer.

Wynecoop and his alleged co-conspirator Isaac Ott, 23, were said to be “lying in wait” to target police in an attempt to gain street credit for their gangs, according to court documents.

Court records say the childhood friends and members of different gangs targeted two northeast Spokane homes in drive-by shootings June 26, 2022. Police responded to the shootings and were then targeted, documents say.

“This is a gratuitous act of gang violence,” McCollam said.

With Wynecoop driving a 2014 Chrysler 300, the pair pursued Spokane police Officer Michele Kernkamp’s patrol vehicle north on Perry Street , approaching Empire Avenue.

Seven shots were fired as Officer Kris Honaker’s patrol vehicle passed through the intersection of Empire Avenue and Perry Street, according to documents. Honaker was shot in the leg, and a bullet grazed his scalp in the drive-by.

Honaker, dressed in his Spokane police uniform, and Kernkamp sat behind other officers and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies who supported them Friday in court.

McCollam played an 85-second clip of Ott filming Wynecoop moments before shooting at police.

Wynecoop, wearing a Kansas City Chiefs hat and no shirt, can be seen in the video holding a gun in his lap and driving. He can then be heard saying, “Watch this, watch this.”

Kernkamp’s police cruiser enters the video, and Wynecoop drives behind it trying to catch up to Kernkamp.

The shortened video ends with the sound of gunshots.

Wynecoop, wearing a black dress shirt and the tie McCollam helped him fasten prior to Friday’s court proceedings, stood and addressed the court.

He denied waiting for officers to arrive and said he was “heavily medicated” at the time of the shootings.

Wynecoop apologized and said he’s remorseful, calling it the biggest mistake of his life.

“It was just something that spiraled out of control,” he said.

Katharine Allison, Spokane County public defender, also disagreed with the level of planning McCollam indicated the shooters made. She said the shootings happened in about a 10-minute time frame.

“A lot of this was spur-of-the-moment decision-making,” she said.

Wynecoop pleaded guilty in October to 13 charges, including 10 related to the shootings. The 10 charges were conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree, five counts of first-degree assault, two counts of drive-by shooting, attempt to elude police and first-degree malicious mischief.

The other three charges were attempt to elude police and two counts of hit-and-run with injuries for an unrelated incident in December 2021 .

Wynecoop was also indicted in federal court on charges of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Ott is scheduled for trial April 22.

McCollam asked Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel to impose a 783-month sentence, or 65 1/4 years. He called it an “exceptionally long sentence,” but said that these “are exceptional crimes.”

The sentence would include 34 1/4 years for conspiracy to commit murder, which is the high end of the standard sentencing range for that charge, and another 30 years in firearm enhancements, which are tacked onto each of the conspiracy and assault charges. The attempt to elude carries a one-year sentencing enhancement.

McCollam said the court must impose the enhancements consecutively. He asked that the rest of the sentence for the other charges run concurrently.

Wynecoop has served time in prison before. He was sentenced in 2019 to three years in prison for burglary charges.

He was under Department of Corrections supervision for those charges and release conditions for the December 2021 incident at the time of the shootings, McCollam said.

While in jail, Wynecoop told someone over the phone: “If you can get me out, I can do it again,” according to documents. In phone conversations, he is heard laughing in his description of the shooting and describes himself as a “legend.”

He also appears to exaggerate the shooting, telling one person during a jailhouse call that he “tried to shoot it out with every cop.” On another jail call, he told someone that he emptied “100 rounds.”

Allison said Wynecoop was heavily under the influence at the time of the shooting and was coming out of a daze during the phone calls.

McCollam said Honaker and Kernkamp will be affected by the shooting for the rest of their lives.

“This type of action takes an extreme mental toll on our law enforcement,” he said.

Allison said Wynecoop’s youth contributed to the crimes and recommended a 21-year prison sentence that includes one five-year firearm enhancement and the one-year enhancement for the attempt to elude charge.

The sentence would equate to 46 years if all the enhancements are stacked.

McCollam said Wynecoop’s conduct, including a “deeply entrenched gang lifestyle,” led him to this point, not youthfulness as Allison indicated.

Wynecoop was 22 at the time of the crimes.

She said Wynecoop’s crimes were also indicative of impetuousness, peer influence and drug use.

He grew up in poverty and his father was killed when Wynecoop was very young, Allison said. That exposure to violence affects a young person’s brain and can lead to the risky behaviors in which Wynecoop engaged.

As people get older, they don’t engage in risky, violent acts as often, she said.

Allison said Wynecoop is a different person than the one who committed the crimes and made the jail phone calls. He made terrible decisions, but “there is a good heart under there,” she said.

Hazel chose not to sentence Wynecoop Friday, saying he wanted to carefully consider the ruling and that he received some court filings fairly late. He asked Allison to provide more information regarding rehabilitation for him to consider before Wynecoop’s new sentencing date, which is next Friday.

“This is obviously a very significant decision,” Hazel said.

(c)2024 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)
Visit The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) at
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.